Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of the decline and fall of the Roman empire"

See other formats


Qavid ©. jUc^Kmj g£cbftaAij 



| 0S . BYRUM P4Bs r /\ 

NEWSDEALER, 

)kseller and Stationer, 

SALT LAKE CITY, 
UTAH. 




DG 
311 
.G53 
v.k 



RICKS COLLEGE LRC 




3 1404 00 070 592 8 



-eserrEed by: The Jaques f Heirs 
in memory of John Jaques 



°\ 



°\ 

{ 

I 






u 




THE 



HISTORY 



OP 



THE DECLINE AND FALL 



OF TUE 



ROMAN EMPIRE 

BY 

EDWAED GIBBON, ESQ. 

WITH NOTES, 
BY THE REV. H. H. MILMAN, 

PREBENDARY OF ST. PETER'S, AND RECTOR OF ST. MARGARET'S, WESTMINSTER 

A NEW EDITION, 

TO WHICH IS ADDED 

A COMPLETE INDEX OF THE WHOLE WORK. 

IN FIVE VOLUMES. 

VOL. IV. 



PHILADELPHIA : 
PORTER & COATES, 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/historyofdecline52gibb 



« ^3^7 



01 



'4 



CONTENTS OF THE FOURTH VOLUME. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

REION OF THE YOUNGER JUSTIN.— EMBASSY OF TnE AVARS.— THEIR SETTLE- 
MKNTON THE DANUBE.— CONQUEST OF ITALY BY THE LOMBARDS.— ADOPTION 
AND REIGN OF TIBERIUS.— OF MAURICE. — 8TATK OF ITALY UNDER THE 
LOMBARDS AND TDK EXARCHS OF RAVENNA- — DISTRESS OF ROME. — CHAR- 
ACTER AND PONTIFICATE OF GREGORY THE FIRST. 

A- *>• PACE. 

565. Death of Justinian 13 

505— 574. Reign of Justin II., or the Younger 14 

6(H>. His Consulship 14 

Embassy <>f the A vara 15 

Alboin, King of tli«' Lombards— his Valor. Love, and Revenge 16 

The Lombards and Avan destroy the King and Kingdom of the 

Gephhe 18 

567. Alboin undertakes the Conquest of Italy 19 

Disaffection and 1 >eath of Kanses 20 

668—570. Conquest of a great Pari of Italy by the Ixmibards 22 

573. Alboin is murdered by his Wife Rosamond 23 

Her Flight and Death 25 

Clepho, King of the Lombards 26 

Weakness of the Emperor Justin 26 

574. Association of Tiberius 27 

57*. Death of Justin II 28 

578—582. Reign of Tiberius II 29 

His Virtues 29 

582—602. The Reign of Maurice 30 

Distress of Italv 31 

581—590. Autharis, King of the Lombards 33 

The Exarchate of Ravenna 34 

The Kingdom of the Lombards 35 

Language and Manners of the Lombards 35 

Dress and Marriage 38 

Government 39 

643. Laws 40 

Misery of Rome 41 

The Tombs and Relies of the Apostles 43 

Birth and Profession of Gregory the Roman 44 

590—604. Pontificate of Gregory the Great 45 

His Spiritual Office 45 

And Temporal Government 47 

His Estates 47 

And Alms 47 

The Savior of Rome 49 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

REVOLUTIONS OF PERSIA AFTER THE DEATH OF CHOSROES OR NUSHIRYAN. — 
HIS SON HORMOUZ, A TYRANT, IS DEPOSED. — USURPATION OF BAHRAM. — 
FLIGHT AND RESTORATION OF CHOSROES H. — HIS GRATITUDE TO THE RO- 
MANS. —THE CHAGAN OF THE AVARS. — REVOLT OF THE ARMY AGAINST 



(1) 



2 CONTENTS. 

MAURICE. — HIS DEATH. — TYRANNY OF PHOCAS. —ELEVATION OF HERAC- 
LIUS.— THE PERSIAN WAR. — CHOSROES SUBDUES SYRIA, EGYPT, AND ASIA 
MINOR.— SIEGE OF CONSTANTINOPLE BY THE PERSIANS AND AVARS.— PER- 
SIAN EXPEDITIONS. — VICTORIES AND TRIUMPH OF HERACLIUS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Contest of Rome and Persia DO 

570. Conquest of Yemen by Nusbirvan 51 

572. His last War with the* Romans 52 

579- His Death 54 

579.— 590. Tyranny and Vices of his Son Hormouz 54 

590. Exploits of Bahrain 56 

His Rebellion 57 

Hormouz is deposed and imprisoned 58 

Elevation of his Son Chosroes 59 

Death of Hormouz CO 

Chosroes flies to the Romans 00 

His Return 01 

And final Victory 02 

Death of Bahrain 02 

591—603. Restoration and Policy of Chosroes A 02 

570 — G00. Pride, Policy, and Power of Hie Chagan of the Avars 04 

595 — 002. Wars of Maurice against the Avars 08 

State of the Roman Armies 70 

Their Discontent 71 

And Rebellion 72 

602. Election of Phocas 72 

Revolt of Constantinople 72 

Death of Maurice and his Children 74 

6^2—010. Phocas Emperor 75 

His Character 75 

And Tyranny 76 

610. His Fall and Death 78 

610—042. Reign of Heraclius 78 

603. Chosroes invades the Roman Empire 79 

611. His Conquest of Syria 80 

614. Of Palestine 81 

616. Of Egypt.. >. 82 

Of Asia Minor 82 

His Reign and Magnificence 82 

610—622. Distress of Heraclius 85 

He Solicits Peace 87 

621. His Preparations for War 87 

022. First Expedition of Heraclius against the Persians .• 88 

623, 624, 025. His Second Expedition CO 

626. Deliverance of Constantinople from the Persians and Avars 94 

Alliances and Conquests of Heraclius 96 

627. His Third Expedition 97 

And Victories •.. 98 

Flight of Chosroes 100 

628. He 4s deposed 101 

And murdered by his Son Siroes 102 

Treaty of Peace between the two Empires 103 

CHAPTER XLVII. 

THEOLOGICAL HISTORY OP THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION. — THE HU- 
MAN AND DIVINE NATURE OF CHRIST. — ENMITY OF THE PATRIARCHS OF 
ALEXANDRIA AND CONSTANTINOPLE. — ST. CYRIL AND NESTORIUS.— THIRD 
GENERAL COUNCIL OF EPHESUS. — HERESY OF EUTYCHES. — FOURTH GEN- 
ERAL COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON. — CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL DISCORD. — IN- 
TOLERANCE OF JUSTINIAN. — THE THREE CHAPTERS. — THE IHONOTHELITE 
CONTROVERSY-. — STATE OF THE ORIENTAL SECTS. — I. THE NESTORIANS. — 
II. THE JACOBITES.— III. THE MAUONITES.— IV. THE ARMENIANS. — V. THE 
COPTS AND ABYSSINIANS. 

The Incarnation of Christ 106 

I. A pure Man to the Ebionites 107 

His Birth and Elevation 108 



CONTENTS. 3 

JL. D. PAGE. 

II. A pure God to the Docetes 110 

His incorruptible Body Ill 

III. Double Nature of Cerinthus 112 

I V. Divine Incarnation of Apollinaris 113 

V. Orthodox Consent and verbal Disputes 115 

412 — 144. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria 117 

413,414,415. His Tyranny 118 

428. Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople 121 

429—4)1. His Heresy 121 

431. First Council of Ephesus 123 

Condemnation of Nestorius 125 

Opposition of the Orientals 126 

431—435. Victory of Cyiil 127 

435. Exile of Nestorius 129 

448. Heresy of Eutyches 131 

449. Second" Council of Ephesus 131. 

451. Council of Chalcedon 133 

Faith of Chalcedon 135 

451—482. Discord of the East 136 

482. The Henolicon of ZeBO 138 

508—518. The Trisagion, and religious War till the Death of Anastasius 139 

514. First religious War , 141 

519—565. Theological Character and Government of Justinian 141 

H is Persecution of Heretics 143 

Of Pagans 144 

Of Jews 144 

Of Samaritans 145 

His Orthodoxy 145 

532—698. The Three Chapters 146 

553- Vth General Council ; lid of Constantinople 147 

564. Heresy of Justinian 148 

629. The Monothelite Controversy 149 

639. The Ecthesis of Heraclius 159 

648. The Type of Constans 150 

680—681. VLthGeneralCounc.il: lid of Constantinople 150 

Union of the Greek and Latin Churches 152 

Perpetual Separation of the Oriental Sects 152 

I. The Nestokians 154 

500. Sole Masters of Persia 156 

5t»(> — 1200. Their Missions in Tartary, India, China, &c 157 

883. The Christians of St. Thomas in India 159 

II. This Jacobites 161 

I I I. Th E M \ no n ites 164 

IV. The Armenians 166 

V. The Copts or Egyptians 168 

537—568. The Patriarch Theodosius 168 

538. Paul 169 

551. Apollinaris 169 

580. Eulogius 169 

609. John 169 

Their Separation and Decay 17*» 

625—661. Benjamin* the « Jacobite Patriarch 171 

VI. The Abyssixians and Nubians 172 

530. Church of Abyssinia 173 

1525—1550. The Portuguese in Abyssinia 174 

1557. Mission of the Jesuits 175 

1626. Conversion of the Emperor 175 

1632. Final Expulsion of the Jesuits 176 

CHAPTER XLVIII. 

PLAN OF THE LAST TWO VOLUMES. — SUCCESSION AND CHARACTERS OF THE 
GREEK EMPERORS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, FROM THE TIME OF HERACLIUS TO 
THE LATIN CONQUEST. 

Defects of the Byzantine History • 177 

Its Connection with the Revolutions of the World 179 

Plan of the last two Volumes 179 



4 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Second Marriage and Death of Iferaclius 182 

641. Constantino III . 182 

Ileraeleonas 183 

Punishment of Martina and Heracleonas 184 

Constans II... 184 

668. Constantine IV . Pogonatus 185 

685. Justinian II 187 

695 -705. 11 is Ex ilc 188 

705—711. His Restoration and Death 189 

711. Philippicus 1S1 

713. Anastasius II 191 

716. Theodosius III. 191 

718. Leo III. the Isaurian If2 

741. Constantine V. Copronymus If 3 

775. Leo IV ft-4 

780. Constantine VI. and Irene t 196 

792. Irene 197 

802. Nicephorus 1 198 

811. Stauraeius 198 

Michael I. Rhangabe 199 

813. Leo V. the Armenian 200 

820. Michael II. the Stammerer 201 

829. Theophilus 202 

842. Michael III 204 

867. Basil I. the Macedonian 207 

886. Leo VI. the Philosopher 211 

911. Alexander, Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus 212 

919. Roman us I. Lecapenus 213 

Christopher, Stephen, Constantine VIII 213 

945. Constantine VII 214 

959. Romanus II. junior 215 

963. Nicephorus II., Phocas 216 

969. John Zimisces. Basil 1 1 ., Constantine IX 217 

976. Basil II. and Constantine IX .• 219 

1025. Constantine IX 220 

1028. Romanus III. Argvrus 220 

1034. Michael IV. the Paphlagonian 221 

1041 . Michael V. Calaphates 222 

1012. Zoe and Theodora 222 

Constantine X. Monomachus 222 

1054. Theodora 222 

1056. Michael VI. Stratioticus 223 

1057. Isaac. I. Comnenus 223 

1059. Constantine XL Ducas 225 

1067. Eudocia 225 

Romanus III. Diogenes 226 

1071. Michael VII. Parapinaces, Andronicus I., Constantine XII 2l'6 

1078. Nicephorus III. Botaniates 227 

1081. Alexius I. Comnenus 229 

1118. .John, or Calo-Johannes 230 

1 143. Manuel 232 

1180. Alexius II 234 

Character and first Adventures of Andronicus 235 

1183. Andronicus I. Comnenus 242 

1185. Isaac II. An gel us 243 

CHAPTER XLIX. 

INTRODUCTION, WORSHIP, AND PERSECUTION OF IMAGES- REVOLT OF ITALY 
AND ROME.— TEMPORAL DOMINION OF THE POPES. — CONQUEST OF ITALY 
BY THE FRANKS. — ESTABLISHMENT OF IMAGES. —CHARACTER AND CORO- 
NATION OF CHARLEMAGNE. — RESTORATION AND DECAY OF THE ROMAN 
EMPIRE IN THE WEST.— INDEPENDENCE OF ITALY.— CONSTITUTION OF THE 
GERMANIC BODY. 

Introduction of Images into the Christian Church 248 

Their Worship „ 249 

The Image of Edessa ,. 251 



CONTENTS. O 

A. D. PAGE. 

Its Copies 252 

Opposition to Image- Worship 253 

726—840. Leo the Iconoclast, and his successors 255 

754. Their Synod of Constantinople 256 

Their Creed 256 

726—775. Their Persecution of the Images and Monks 258 

State of Italy 260 

727. Epistles of Gregory II. to the Emperor 261 

728. Revolt of Italy 263 

Republic of Rome 266 

730—752. Rome attacked by the Lombards 268 

751. Her Deliverance by Pepin 271 

774. Conquest of Lombardy by Charlemagne 271 

751, 753, 768. Pepin and Charlemagne, Kings of France 271 

Patricians of Rome 273 

Donations of Pepin and Charlemagne to the Popes 275 

Forgery of the Donation of Constantine 277 

780. Restoration of Images in the East by the Empress Irene 279 

787. VHth General Council, lid of Nice 280 

842. Final Establishment of Images by the Empress Theodora ■ 281 

794. Reluctance of the Franks and of Charlemagne 282 

774—800. Final Separation of the Popes from the Eastern Empire 282 

800. Coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor of Rome and of the West 285 

768 — 814. Reign and Character of Charlemagne 286 

Extent of his Empire 289 

In France 290 

Spain 290 

Italy 291 

Germany 291 

Hungary 291 

His Neighbors and Enemies 292 

His Successors 294 

814—887. In Italy 294 

911. In Germany 294 

987. In France 294 

814—840. Lewis the Pious 295 

840—856. Lo thai re 1 295 

856—875. Lewis II 295 

888. Division of the Empire 295 

962. Otho, King of Germany, restores and appropriates the Western Empire 296 

Transactions of the Western and Eastern Empires 297 

800 — 1060. Authority of the Emperors in the Elections of the Popes 299 

Disorders 300 

1073. Reformation and Claims of the Church 301 

Authority of the Emperors in Rome 302 

932. Revolt of A lberic 302 

967. Of Pope John XII 303 

998. Of the Consul Crescentius 303 

774—1250. The Kingdom of Italy 304 

1152—1190. Frederic 1 306 

1198—1250. Frederic II.... ; 307 

814 — 1250. Independence of the Princes of Germany 308 

1250. The Germanic Constitution 308 

1347—1378. Weakness and Poverty of the German Emperor Charles IV 310 

1356. His Ostentation 311 

Contrast of the Power and Modesty of Augustus 312 

CHAPTER L. 

DESCRIPTION OF ARABIA AND ITS INHABITANTS.— BIRTH, CHARACTER, AND 
DOCTRINE OF MAHOMET. — HE PREACHES AT MECCA.— FLIES TO MEDINA. — 
PROPAGATES HIS RELIGION BY THE SWORD.— VOLUNTARY OR RELUCTANT 
SUBMISSION OF THE ARABS.— HIS DEATH AND SUCCESSORS.— THE CLAIMS 
AND FORTUNES OF ALI AND HIS DESCENDANTS. 

Description of A rabia 314 

The Soil and Climate ; ... 315 

Division of the Sandy, the Stony, and the Happy Arabia 316 



6 CONTENTS. 

A.. D. PAGE. 

Manners of the Bedoweens, or Tastoral Arabs 317 

The Horse 317 

The Camel 318 

Cities of Arabia 319 

Mecca • 320 

H er Trade 320 

National Independence of the Arabs 321 

Their domestic Freedom and Cbaracter 323 

Civil Wars and Private Revenge 3l'6 

Annual Truce 327 

Their Social Qualifications and Virtues 327 

Love of Poetry 328 

Examples of Generosity 329 

Ancient Idolatry 330 

The Caaba, or Temple of Mecca 331 

Sacrifices and Kites 332 

Introduction of the Sabians 333 

T h e M agi an s 334 

The Jews 334 

The Christians 335 

669—609. Birth and Education of Mahomet 336 

Deliverance of Mecca 3"-6 

Qualifications of the Prophet 338 

One God 340 

Mahomet the Apostle of God, and the last of the Prophets 343 

Moses 343 

Jesus 344 

The Koran 345 

Miracles 347 

Precepts of Mahomet— Prayer, Fasting, Alms 349 

Resurrection 351 

Hell and Paradise 354 

609. Mahomet preaches at Mecca 355 

613—622. Is opposed by the Koreish , 357 

622. And driven from Mecca 358 

622. Received as Prince of Medina 359 

622—632. His regal Dignity 360 

He declares War against the Infidels 361 

His defensive Wars against the Koreish of Mecca 384 

623. Battle of Beder 364 

Of Ohud 365 

625. The Nations, or the Ditch . 306 

623—627. Mahomet subdues the Jews of Arabia 386 

629. Submission of Mecca 368 

629—632. Conquest of Arabia 370 

629, 630. First War of the Mahometans against the Roman Empire 373 

632. Death of Mahomet 375 

His Character 376 

Private Life of Mahomet 380 

His Wives 381 

And Children 383 

Character of Ali ;{83 

632. Reign of Abubeker 385 

634. Reign of Omar 385 

644. Reign of Othman 386 

Discord of the Turks and Persians 386 

855. Death of Othman 388 

655—060. Reign of Ali 388 

655, or 601 —88(). Reign of Moawiyah 392 

680. Death of Hosein 393 

Posterity of Mahomet and Ali 396 

680. Success of Mahomet , , 397 

Permanency of his Religion 397 

His Merit towards his Country , 398 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER LI. 

THE CONQUEST OF PERSIA, SYRIA, EGYPT, AFRICA, AND STAIN, BY TITE ARABS 
OR SARACENS. — ENTIRE OF THE CALIPHS OR SUCCESSORS OF MAHOMET. — 
STATE OF THE CHRISTIANS, ETC., UNDER THEIR GOVERNMENT. 

A. D. PAGE. 

632. Union of the Arabs 400 

Character of their Caliphs 402 

Their Conquests 404 

Invasion of Persia 406 

C36. Battle of CauVsia 407 

Foundation of Bassoxa 408 

637. Sack of Aladayn 409 

Foundation of ' Cufa 411 

637—651. Conquest of Persia 411 

651. Death of the last King 414 

710. Tlie Conquest of Transoxiana 415 

632. Invasion of Syria 416 

Siege of Bosra 418 

633. Siege of Damascus 42u 

633. Battle of Aiznadin 421 

The Arabs return to Damascus 424 

634. The City is taken by Storm and Capitulation 425 

Pursuit of the Damascenes 426 

Fair of Abyla 429 

635. Sieges of lleliopolis and Finesa 431 

630. Battle of Vermuk 434 

637. Conquest of Jerusalem 4.16 

638. Conquest of Aleppo and Antioch 4)?8 

Flight, of rleracllUS 410 

JEjna of the Syrian War 441 

633— 6.:9. The Conquerors of Syria 441 

639— 655. Progress of the Syrian Conquerors 412 

Fg vtt. Character and Life of Anuou 445 

638 Invasion of Egypt 446 

The Cities of Memphis, Babylon, and Cairo 447 

Voluntary Submission ol the Copts or Jacobites 449 

Siege and Conquest of Alexandria 450 

Tin' Alexandrian Library , 463 

Administration of Egypt 455 

Riches and Populousness 457 

647. Africa. First Invasion by Abdallah 459 

The Prefect Gregory and his Daughter 460 

Victory of the A rabs 461 

605—689. Progress of the Saracens in Africa . .• 463 

670—675. Foundation of Cairoan 466 

692—698. Conquest of Carthage 467 

698—709. Final Conquest of Africa 408 

Adoption of the Moors 470 

709. Stain. First Temptations and Designs of the Arabs 470 

State of the Gothic Monarchy 471 

710. The first Descent of the Arab's 473 

711. Their second Descent 473 

And Victory ... 474 

Ruin of the Gothic Monarchy 474 

712. 713. Conquest of Spain by Miisa 477 

714. Disgrace of Musa 480 

Prosperity of Spain under the Arabs 482 

Religious Toleration 484 

Propagation of Mabometanism 484 

Fall of the Magians of Persia 485 

749. Decline and Fall of Christianity in Africa. 487 

1149. AndSpain 488 

Toleration of the Christians 489 

Their Hardships 400 

718. The Empire of the Caliphs 490 



8 CONTEXTS, 



CHAPTER LII. 

THE TWO SIEGES OF UON'STANTINOPLE BY THE ARABS. —THEIR rVVASION" OP 
FRANCE, AND DEFEAT BV CHARLES MARTEL. — CIVIL WARS OF THF DMMI- 
ADES AND ABBASSIDES. —LEARNING OF THE ARABS. — LUXURY OF THE 
CALIPHS. — NAVAL ENTERPRISES ON CRETE, SICILY, AND ROME. — DECAY 
AND DIVISION" OF THE E.UPIRE OF THE CALIPHS. — DEFEATS AND VICTO- 
RIES OF THE GREEK EMPL XORS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

The Limits of the Arabian Conquests .... 492 

668 — 675. First Siege of Constantinople by the Arabs 492 

677. Peace and Tribute 495 

716 — 71S. Second Siege of Constantinople 497 

Failure and Retreat of the Saracens 500 

Invention and Use of the Greek Fire 500 

721. Invasion of Fiance by ihe Arabs 50.3 

731. Expedition and Victories of A bderame 504 

732. Defeat of the Saracens by Charles Mattel 506 

They retreat before the Franks 508 

746 — 750.— Elevation of the Abbassides 508 

750. Fah ot the Ommiades 511 

755. Revolt of Spain 512 

Triple Division of the Caliphate 512 

750—960. Magnificence of the Caliphs 513 

Its Consequences on priva;-e and public Happiness 515 

754 — 813. Introduction of Learning among the Arabians 516 

Their real Progress In the Sciences 518 

"Want of Erudition, Taste, and Freedom 522 

781—805. Wars of Harun a! Rasehid against the Romans 523 

823. The Arabs subdue the Isle of Crete 52G 

827—878. And of Sicily 527 

846 Invasion of Rome bv the Saracens 529 

849. Victory and Reign of Leo [V 529 

852. : Foundation of the Leonine City - 532 

838. The Amorian War between Theophilus and Motassem 532 

841—870. Disorders of the Turkish Guards 535 

890 — 951. Rise and Progress of the Carmathians 537 

900. Their militarv Exploits « 537 

929. They pillage Mecca 538 

800—936. Revolt of the Provinces 539 

The Independent Dynasties 540 

800—941. The Aglabites 540 

829— 'J07. The Ed ri sites 540 

813^-872. The Tahe rites 540 

872—902. The Soffarides 540 

874—999. The Samanides 541 

868— 905. The TouTunides 541 

934—968. The Ikshidi res 541 

892—1001. The Hamadanites 541 

933—1055. The Bowides 542 

936. Fallen State of the Caliphs of Bagdad 542 

960. Enterprises of the Greeks 544 

Reduction of Crete -544 

963—975. The Eastern Conquests of Xicephorus Phocas and John Zimisces 545 

Conquest of Cilicia 545 

Invasion of Syria 546 

Recovery of Antioch 546 

Passage of the Euphrates , 547 

Danger of Bagdad 547 



CONTEXTS. 9 



CHAPTER LIII. 

STATE OF THE EASTERN EMPIRE TS THE TENTH CENTURY. — EXTENT AND 
DIVISION.— WEALTH AND REVENUE.— PALACE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.— TITLES 
AND OFFICES. — PRIDE AND POWER OF THE EMPERORS. — TACTICS OF THE 
GREEKS, ARABS, AND FRANKS. — LOSS OF THE LATIN TONGUE. — STUDIES 
AND SOLITUDE OF THE GREEKS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

Memorials of the Greek Empire 549 

Works of Constantine Porphyrogenitus 549 

Their Imperfections 550 

Embassy of Liutprand 552 

The Themes, or Provinces of the Empire, and its Limits In every Age 553 

General Wealth and Populousness 554 

State of Peloponnesus : Sclavonians . . 555 

Freemen of Laeonia 556 

Cities and Revenue of Peloponnesus 557 

Manufactures, especially of Silk 558 

Transported from Greece to Sicily 559 

Revenue of the Greek Empire 5G0 

Pomp and Luxury of the Emperors 561 

The Palace of Constantinople. 562 

Furniture and Attendance 562 

Honors and Titles of the Imperial Family 564 

Officers of the Palace, the State, and the xVrmy 565 

Adoration of the Emperor.. 567 

Reception of Ambassadors 568 

Processions and Acclamations 569 

Marriage of the Caesars with Foreign Nations 570 

Imaginary Law of Constantine 571 

733 The first Exception 571 

941. The second 571 

943. The third 571 

972. Otho of Germany 573 

988. Wolodomir of Russia 573 

Despotic Power 574 

Coronation Oath 574 

Military Force of the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks..' 575 

Navy of the Greeks 575 

Tactics and Character of the Greeks 576 

Character and Tactics of the Saracens .... 580 

The Franks or Latins 581 

Their Character and Tactics 583 

Oblivion of the Latin Language 585 

The Greek Emperors and their Subjects retain and assert the Name of 

Romnns 5^6 

Period of Ignorance 587 

Revival of Greek Learning 587 

Decay of Taste and Genius , 590 

Want of National Emulation 591 



CHAPTER LIV. 

ORIGIN AND DOCTRINE OF THE PAULICIANS. —THEIR PERSECUTION BY THE 
GREEK EMPERORS. — REVOLT IN ARMENIA, ETC.— TRANSPLANTATION INTO 
THRACE.— PROPAGATION IN THE WEST.— THE SEEDS, CHARACTER, AND CON- 
SEQUENCES OF 'THE REFORMATION. 

Supine Superstition of the Greek Church 503 

660. Origin of the Paulicians or Disciples of St. Paul 594 

Their Bible 595 

The Simplicity of their Belief and Worship 596 



10 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

They hold the two principles of the Magians and Maniehaeans 597 

The Establishment of the Paulicians in Armenia, Pontus, &c 597 

Persecution of the Greek Emperors 598 

845—880. Revolt of the Paulicians GOO 

They lortify Tephri.ce COO 

And pillage Asia Minor 6i 1 

Their Decline 602 

Their Transplantation from Armenia to Thrace 602 

Their Introduction into Italy and France 604 

1200. Persecution of the Albigeois 666 

Character and Consequences of the Reformation 606 

CHAPTER LV. 

THE BULGARIANS. — ORIGIN, MIGRATIONS, AND SETTLEMENT OF THE HUNGA- 
RIANS. —THEIR INROADS IN THE EAST AND WEST. — THE MONARCHY OF 
RUSSIA.— GEOGRAPHY AND TRADE. —WARS OF THE RUSSIANS AGAINST THE 
GREEK EMPIRE.— CONVERSION OF THE BARBARIANS. 

680. Emigration of the Bulgarians 61 1 

900. Croats or Sciavonians of Dalmatia 613 

640 — 1017. First Kingdom of the Bulgarians 614 

884. Emigration of the Turks or Hungarians 616 

Their Fennic Origin 618 

900. Tactics and Manners of the Hungarians and Bulgarians 619 

889. Establishment ami Inroads of the Hungarians 622 

934. Victory of Henry the Fowler 624 

955. Of Otho the Great 624 

Origin of the Russian Monarchy 626 

The Varangians of Constantinople 628 

950. Geography and Trade of Russia 629 

Naval Expeditions of the Russians against Constantinople 6.32 

86\ The hrst 633 

904. The second ... 633 

941. The third 633 

1043. The fourth 634 

Negotiations and Prophecy 634 

955—973. Reign of Swato-laus 635 

970—973. His Defeat by John Zimisces 636 

864. Conversion of Russia 638 

955. Baptism of Olga 638 

988. Of Wolodomir 639 

800—1100. Christianity of the North 640 

CHAPTER LVI. 

THE SARACENS, FRANKS, AND GREEKS, IN ITALY. —FIRST ADVENTURES AND 
.SETTLEMENT OF THE NORMANS. — CHARACTER AND CONQUEST OF ROBERT 
GULSOARD, DUKE OF APULIA. — DELI VERANCE OF SICILY BY HIS BROTHER 
ROGER. — VICTORIES OF ROBKBT OVER THE EMPERORS OF THE EAST AND 
WEST. — ROGER, KING OF SICILY, INVADES AFRICA AND GREECE.— »TfflE EM- 
PEROR MANUEL COMNENUS. — WARS OF THE GREEKS AND NORMANS. — EX- 
TINCTION OF THE NORMANS. 

840—1017. Conflict of the Saracens, Latins, and Greeks, in Italy 643 

871. Conquest ot Bari 644 

890. New Province of the Greeks in Italy 645 

983. Defeat ot Otho III 616 

Anecdotes 647 

1016. Origin of the Kormans in Italy 619 

1029. Foundation ot Aversa 651 

1038. The Normans serve in Sicilv fi. r >2 

1040—1043. Their Conq nest of A pulia 6, r 53 

Character of the Normans 654 

1046- Oppression of Apulia 654 



CONTENTS. 11 

A. r>. PACK. 

1049—1054. League of the Pope and the two Empires <;,35 

1053. Expedition of Pope Leo IX. against the Normans 65G 

J I is Defeat and Captivity 657 

Origin <>f the Bapai Investitures to the Normans 057 

1020—1085. Birth and Character of Robert Guiacard 608 

1054—1080. His Am hi, ion and Success 660 

1060. Duke of Apulia 661 

His Italian Conquests 6( 2 

School of Salerno 662 

Trade of A mal phi 663 

1060— 10!M). Conquest of Sicily by Count Roger 664 

1081. Robert invades the Eastern Empire 007 

Siege of Durazzo 60S 

The Army and March of the Emperor Alexius (370 

Rattle of Durazzo 672 

1082. Durazzo taken 673 

Return of Robert, and Actions of Rohemond G74 

1081. The Emperor Henry ill. invited by the Greeks 07i; 

1081— lost. Besieges Rome .. 677 

Flies before Robert 678 

1084. Second Expedition of Robert into Greece G78 

1085. His Death 680 

1101 — 1154. Reign and Ambition of Roger, great Count of Sicily 681 

1127. Duke of Apulia G81 

1130—1139. First King of Sicily 682 

1122—1152. His Conquests in Africa 683 

114G. His Invasion of Greece 684 

His Admiral delivers Louis VII. of France .. 685 

Insults Constantinople ... 68(5 

1148,1149. The Emperor Manuel repulses the Normans 686 

1155. He reduces Apulia and Calabria 687 

1155—1174. His Design of acquiring Italy and the Western Empire 688 

Failure of his Designs 6*9 

1156. Peace with the Normans 0*9 

1185. Last War of the Greeks and Normans 690 

1154—1166. William I. the Bad, King of Sicily 601 

1166—1189. William II. the Good 691 

Lamentation of the Hi tori an Falcandus 002 

1104. Conquest of the Kingdom of Sicily by the Emperor Henry VI 603 

1204. Final Extinction of the Normans 695 

CHAPTER LVII. 

the turks of the house of sel.tuk. — their revolt against mahmtjtj 
conqueror of ii in dost an.— togrul subdues persia, and protects the 
caliphs.— defeat and captivity of the emperor romanus diogenes 
by alp arslan. — power and magnificence of malek shah. — conquest 
of asia minor and syria. — state and oppression of jerusalem .— 
pilgrimages to the holy sepulchre. 

The Turks 606 

997—1028. Mahmud the Gaznevide 696 

His twelve Expeditions into Hindostan 607 

His Character 609 

980—1028. Manners and Emigration of the Turks, or Turkmans 701 

1038. They defeat the Gaznevides, and subdue Persia 703 

1038—1152. 1 >ynastv of the Scljukians 70.3 

1038— 10G3. Reign and Character of Togrul Beg 704 

1055. He delivers the Caliph of Bagdad 705 

His Investiture , 705 

1003. And Death 707 

1050. The Turks invade the Roman Empire 707 

1063—1072. Reign of Alp Arslan 708 

1065 — 10f>8. Conquest of Armenia and Georgia 708 

1008—1071. The Emperor Komanus Diogenes 709 

1071. Defeat of the Romans 711 

Captivity and Deliverance of the Emperor 712 



12 CONTENTS. 

A. D. PAGE. 

1072. Death of Alp Arslan 714 

1072—1092. Reign and Prosperity of Malek Shah 715 

1092. His Death 717 

Division of the Seljukian Empire 718 

1074—1084. Conquest of Asia Minor by the Turks 719 

The Seljukian Kingdom of Koum 721 

638—1099. State and Pilgrimage of Jerusalem 722 

969—1076. Under the Fatimite Caliphs • 725 

1009. Sacrilege of Hakem 726 

1024. Increase of Pilgrimages 727 

1076—1096. Conquest of Jerusalem by the Turks 728 



THE HISTORY 

OF 

THE DECLINE AND FALL 

OF THE 

ROMAN EMPIRE. 



CHAPTER XLV 

REIGN OF THE YOUNGER JUSTIN. — EMBASSY OF THE AVARS. 

THEIR SETTLEMENT ON THE DANUBE. CONQUEST OF 

ITALY BY THE LOMBARDS. ADOPTION AND REIGN OF 

TIBERIUS. OF MAURICE. STATE OF ITALY UNDER THE 

LOMBARDS AND THE EXARCHS. OF RAVENNA. DISTRESS 

OF ROME. CHARACTER AND PONTIFICATE OF GREGORY 

THE FIRST. 

During the last years of Justinian, his infirm mind was 
devoted to heavenly contemplation, and he neglected the 
business of the lower world. His subjects were impatient of 
the long continuance of his life and reign : yet all who were 
capable of reflection apprehended the moment of his death, 
which might involve the capital in tumult, and the empire in 
civil war.- Seven nephews 1 of the childless monarch, the 
sons or grandsons of his brother and sister, had been edu- 
cated in the splendor of a princely fortune; they had been 
shown in high commands to the provinces and armies; their 
characters were known, their followers were zealous, and, as 
the jealousy of age postponed the declaration of a successor, 
they might expect with equal hopes the inheritance of their 
uncle. He expired in his palace, after a reign of thirty-eight 
years ; and the decisive opportunity was embraced by the 

1 See the family of Justin and Justinian in the Familiae Byzantinse of 
Ducange, pp. 89-101. The devout civilians, Ludewig (in Vit. Justinian, p. 131) 
and Heineccius(Hist. Juris. Roman, p. 374) have since illustrated the genealogy 
of their favorite prince. (13) 



14 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

friends of Justin, the sor of Vigilantia. 2 At the hour of 
midnight, his domestics were awakened by an importunate 
crowd, who thundered at his door, and obtained admittance 
by revealing themselves to be the principal members of the 
senate. These welcome deputies announced the recent and 
momentous secret of the emperor's deeease ; reported, or 
perhaps invented, his dying choice of the best beloved and 
most deserving of his nephews, and conjured Justin to pre- 
vent the disorders of the multitude, if they should perceive, 
with the return of light, that they were left without a 
master. After composing his countenance to surprise, 
sorrow, and decent modesty, Justin, by the advice of his 
wife Sophia, submitted to the authority of the senate, lie 
was conducted with speed and silence to the palace; the 
guards saluted their new sovereign ; and the martial and 
religious rights of his coronation were .diligently accom- 
plished. By the hands of the proper officers he was invested 
with the Imperial garments, the red buskins, white tunic, 
and purple robe. A fortunate soldier, whom he instantly 
promoted to the rank of tribune, encircled his neck with a 
military collar; four robust youths exalted him on a shield; 
he stood firm and erect to receive the adoration of his sub- 
jects ; and their choice was sanctified by the benediction of 
the patriarch, who imposed the diadem on the head of an 
orthodox prince. The hippodrome was already filled with 
innumerable multitudes; and no sooner did the emperor 
appear on his throne, than the voices of the blue and the 
green factions were confounded in the same loyal acclama- 
tions. In the speeches which Justin addressed to the senate 
and people, he promised to correct the abuses which had 
disgraced the age of his predecessor, displayed the maxims 
of a just and beneficent government, and declared that, on 
the approaching calends of January, 3 he would revive in his 
own person the name and liberality of a Roman consul. The 
immediate discharge of his uncle's debts exhibited a solid 
pledge of his faith and generosity : a train of porters, laden 
with bags of gold, advanced into the midst oi the hippo- 
drome, and the hopeless creditors of Justinian accepted this 
equitable payment as a voluntary gift. Before the end of 

5 In the story of Justin's elevation T have translated into simple and concise 
prose the eight hundred verses of the two first books ot Corippus, de Laudibus 
Justini, Appendix Hist. Byzant pp 401-41(5. Koine. 1777. 

3 It is surprising how Pagi (Critiea in Annal. Baron torn ii p. 63M) could bo 
tempted by any chronicles to contradict the plain and decisive text ot Corippus 
(vicina dona, 1. ii 354, vicina dies, 1. iv. 1), and to postpone, till A. D. 567, the 
consulship ol Justin. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 15 

three years, his example was imitated and surpassed by the 
empress Sophia, who delivered many indigent citizens from 
the weight of debt and usury : an act of benevolence the best 
entitled to gratitude, since it relieves the most intolerable 
distress; but in which the bounty of a prince is the most 
liable to be abused by the claims of prodigality and fraud. 4 

On the seventh day of his reign, Justin gave audience 
to the ambassadors of the Avars, and the scene was decorated 
to impress the Barbarians with astonishment, veneration, 
and terror. From the palace gate, the spacious courts and 
long porticos were lined with the lofty crests and gilt buck- 
lers of the guards, who presented their spears and axes with 
more confidence than they would have shown in a field of 
battle. The officers who exercised the power, or attended 
the person, of the prince, were attired in their richest habits, 
and arranged according to the military and civil order of 
the hierarchy. When the veil of the sanctuary was with- 
drawn, the ambassadors beheld the emperor of the East on 
his throne, beneath a canopy, or dome, which was supported 
by four columns, and crowned with a winged figure of 
Victory. In the first emotions of surprise, they submitted 
to the servile adoration of the Byzantine court; but as soon 
as they rose from the ground, Targetius, the chief of the 
embassy, expressed the freedom and pride of a Barbarian. 
He extolled, by the tongue of iiis interpreter, the greatness 
of the chagan, by whose clemency the kingdoms of the South 
were permitted to exist, whose victorious subjects had 
traversed the frozen rivers of Scythia, and who now covered 
the banks of the Danube with innumerable tents. The late 
emperor had cultivated, with annual and costly gifts, the 
friendship of a grateful monarch, and the enemies of Rome 
had respected the allies of the Avars. The same prudence 
would instruct the nephew of Justinian to imitate the 
liberality of his uncle, and to purchase the blessings of peace 
from an invincible people, who delighted and excelled in the 
exercise of war. The reply of the emperor was delivered 
m the same strain of haughty defiance, and he derived his 
confidence from the God of the Christians, the ancient glory 
of Rome, and the recent triumphs of Justinian. "The 
empire," said he, "abounds with men and horses, and arms 
sufficient to defend our frontiers, and to chastise the Bar- 
barians. You offer aid, you threaten hostilities: we despise 

4 Theophan. Chronograph p. 205. Whenever Cedrenus or Zonaras are mere 
transcribers, it is superfluous to allege their testimony. 



16 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

your enmity and your aid. The conquerors of the Avars 
solicit our alliance; shall we dread their fugitives and 
exiles? 5 The bounty of our uncle was granted to your mis- 
ery, to your humble prayers. From us you shall receive a 
more important obligation, the knowledge of your own weak- 
ness. Retire from our ^presence ; the lives of ambassadors 
are safe ; and, if you return to implore our pardon, perhaps 
you will taste of our benevolence." G On the report of his 
ambassadors, the chagan was awed by the apparent firmness 
of a Roman emperor of whose character and resources he 
was ignorant. Instead of executing his threats against the 
Eastern empire, lie marched into the poor and savage 
countries of Germany, which were subject to the dominion 
of the Franks. After two doubtful battles, he consented to 
retire, and the Austrasian king relieved the distress of his 
camp with an immediate supply of corn and cattle. 7 Such 
repeated disappointments had chilled the spirit of the Avars, 
and their power would have dissolved away in the Sarmatian 
desert, if the alliance of Alboin, king of the Lombards, had 
not given a new object to their arms, and a lasting settle- 
ment to their wearied fortunes. 

While Alboin served under his father's standard, he 
encountered in battle, and transpierced with his lance, the 
rival prince of the Gepidae. The Lombards, who applauded 
such early prowess, requested his father, with unanimous 
acclamations, that the heroic youth, who had shared the dan- 
gers of the field, might be admitted to the feast of victory. 
" You are not unmindful," replied the inflexible Audoin, " of 
the wise customs of our ancestors. Whatever may be his 
merit, a prince is incapable of sitting at table with his father 
till lie has received his arms from a foreign and royal hand." 
Alboin bowea with reverence to the institutions of his 
country, selected forty companions, and boldly visited the 

£ Corippus, 1. lii. 390. The unquestionable sense relates to the Turks, the 
conquerors of the Avars; but the word scultor has no apparent meaning, and 
the sole MS. of Corippus, from whence the lirst edition (1581, apud Plan tin) was 
printed, is no longer visible. The List editor, Foggini of Rome, has inserted the 
conjectural emendation of sokian : but the proofs of Dueange(Joinville, Dissert. 
xvi. pp. 238-240), for the early use of this title among the Turks and Persians, 
are weak or ambiguous. And I must incline to the authority of D'Herbelot 
(Bibliotheque Orient, p. 825), who ascribes the word to the Arabic and ChahUcan 
tongues, and the date to the beginning of thexilh century, when it was bestowed 
by the khalif of Bagdad on Mahmud, prince of Gazna. and conqueror of India. 

6 For these characteristic speeches, compare the verse of Corippus (1. iii. 251- 
401) with the prose of Menander (Excerpt. Legation, pp. 102, 103). Their diver- 
sity proves that they did not copy each other ; their resemblance, that they drew 
trom a common original. 

7 For the Austrasian war, see Menander (Excerpt. Legat. p. 110), Gregory of 
Tours (Hist. Franc. 1. iv. c. 29), and Paul the deacon (de Gest. Langobard. 
1. ii. c. 10). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 17 

court of Turisund, king of the Gepidse, who embraced and 
entertained, according to the laws of hospitality, the murderer 
of his son. At the banquet, whilst Alboin occupied the seat 
of the youth whom he had slain, a tender remembrance 
arose in the mind of Turisund. "How dear is that place! 
how hateful is that person ! " were the words that escaped, 
with a sigh, from the indignant father. His grief exasper- 
ated the national resentment of the Gepidse ; and Cunimund, 
his surviving son, was provoked by wine, or fraternal 
affection, to the desire of vengeance. "The Lombards," 
said the rude Barbarian, " resemble, in figure and in smell, 
the mares of our Sarmatian plains." And this insult was a 
coarse allusion to the white bands which enveloped their 
legs. "Add another resemblance," replied an audacious 
Lombard ; " you have felt how strongly they kick. Visit the 
plain of Asfield, and seek for the bones of thy brother: 
they are mingled with those of the vilest animals." The 
Gepidae, a nation of warriors, started from their seats, 
and the fearless Alboin, with his forty companions, laid 
their hands on their swords. The tumult was appeased by 
the venerable interposition of Turisund. He saved his own 
honor, and the life of his guest ; and, after the solemn rites 
of investiture, dismissed the stranger in the bloody arms of 
his son ; the gift of a weeping parent. Alboin returned in 
triumph ; and the Lombards, who celebrated his matchless 
intrepidity, were compelled to praise the virtues of an enemy. 8 
In this extraordinary visit he had probably seen the daughter 
of Cunimund, who soon after ascended the throne of the 
Gepidas. Her name was Rosamond, an appellation expres- 
sive of female beauty, and which our own history or romance 
has consecrated to amorous tales. The king of the Lombards 
(the father of Alboin no longer lived) was contracted to the 
granddaughter of Clovis ; but the restraints of faith and 
policy soon yielded to the hope of possessing the fair Rosa- 
mond, and of insulting her family and nation. The arts of 
persuasion were tried without success ; and the impatient 
lover, by force and stratagem, obtained the object of his 
desires. War was the consequence which he foresaw and 
solicited ; but the Lombards could not long withstand the 
furious assault of the Gepida3, who were sustained by a 
Roman army. And, as the offer of marriage was rejected 

8 Paul Warnef rid, the deacon of Friuli, de Gest. Langobard. 1. i. c. 23, 24. His 
pictures of national manners, though rudely sketched, are more lively and faith- 
ful than those of Bede, or Gregory of Tours. 

Vol. IV.— 2 



18 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

"with contempt, Alboin was compelled to relinquish his prey, 
and to partake of the disgrace which he had inflicted on the 
house of Cunimund. 9 

When a public quarrel is envenomed by private injuries, 
a blow that is not mortal or decisive can be productive only 
of a short truce, which allows the unsuccessful combatant to 
sharpen his arms for a new encounter. The strength of 
Alboin had been found unequal to the gratification of his 
love, ambition, and revenge : he condescended to implore 
the formidable aid of the chagan ; and the arguments that 
he employed are expressive of the art and policy of the 
Barbarians. In the attack of the Gepida?, he had been 
prompted by the just desire of extirpating a people whom 
their alliance with the Roman empire had rendered the 
common enemies of the nations, and the personal adversaries 
of the chagan. If the forces of the Avars and the Lombards 
should unite in this glorious quarrel, the victory was secure, 
and the reward inestimable : the Danube, the Ilebrus, Italy, 
and Constantinople, would be exposed, without a barrier, to 
their invincible arms. But, if they hesitated or delayed to 
prevent the malice of the Romans, the same spirit which had 
insulted would pursue the Avars to the extremity of the 
earth. These specious reasons were heard by the chagan 
with coldness and disdain : he detained the Lombard am- 
bassadors in his camp, protracted the negotiation, and by 
turns alleged his want of inclination, or his want of ability, 
to undertake this important enterprise. At length he 
signified the ultimate price of his alliance, that the Lombards 
should immediately present him with a tithe of their cattle; 
that the spoils and captives should be equally divided ; but 
that the lands of the Gepidoe should become the sole 
patrimony of the Avars. Such hard conditions were eagerly 
accepted by the passions of Alboin; and, as the Romans 
were dissatisfied with the ingratitude and perfidy of the 
Gepidse, Justin abandoned that incorrigible people to their 
fate, and remained the tranquil spectator of this unequal 
conflict. The despair of Cunimund was active and danger- 
ous. He was informed that the Avars had entered his 
confines, but, on the strong assurance that, after the defeat 
of the Lombards, these foreign invaders would easily be 
repelled, he rushed forwards to encounter the implacable 
enemy of his name and family. But the courage of the 

9 The story is told by an impostor (Theophylact. Simoeat. 1. vi. c. 10) ; but he 
had art enough to build his notions on public and notorious facts. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 19 

Gepicla3 could secure them no more than an honorable death. 
The bravest of the nation fell in the field of battle; the king 
of the Lombards contemplated with delight the head of 
Cunimund ; and his skull was fashioned into a cup to satiate 
the hatred of the conqueror, or, perhaps, to comply with the 
savage custom of his country. 10 After this victory, no further 
obstacle could impede the progress of the confederates, and 
they faithfully executed the terms of their agreement. 11 The 
fair countries of Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, and the 
other parts of Hungary beyond the Danube, were occupied, 
without resistance, by a new colony of Scythians; and the 
Dacian empire of the chagans subsisted with splendor above 
two hundred and thirty years. The nation of the Gepidse 
was dissolved ; but, in the distribution of the captives, the 
slaves of the Avars were less fortunate than the companions 
of the Lombards, whose generosity adopted a valiant foe, and 
whose freedom was incompatible with cool and deliberate 
tyranny. One moiety of the spoil introduced into the camp 
of Alboin more wealth than a Barbarian could readily com- 
pute. The fair Rosamond was persuaded, or compelled, to 
acknowledge the rights of her victorious lover : and the 
daughter of Cunimund appeared to forgive those crimes 
which might be imputed to her own irresistible charms. 

The destruction of a mighty kingdom establishd the fame 
of Alboin. In the days of Charlemagne, the Bavarians, the 
Saxons, and the other tribes of the Teutonic language, still 
repeated the songs which described the heroic virtues, the 
valor, liberality, and fortune of the king of the Lombards. 1 * 2 
But his ambition was yet unsatisfied; and the conqueror of 
the Gepida3 turned his eye from the Danube to the richer 
banks of the Po and the Tiber. Fifteen years had not elapsed, 
since his subjects, the confederates of Narses, had visited 
the pleasant climate of Italy : the mountains, the rivers, the 

10 It appears from Strabo, Pliny, and Ammianus Marcellinus, that the same 
practice was common among the Scythian tribes (Muratori, Scriptores Ker. 
Italic, torn. i. p. 424). The scalps of North America are likewise trophies of 
valor. The skull of Cunimund was preserved above two hundred years among 
the Lombards ; and Paul himself was one of the guests to whom Duke Katchis 
exhibited this cup on a high festival (1. ii. c. 28). 

11 Paul, 1. i. c. 27. Menander, in Excerpt. Legat. pp. 110, 111. 

12 Ut hacteuus etiam tain apud Bajoaricrum gentem, quam et Saxonum, sed 
et alios ejusdem lingua 1 , homines * * * * in eorum carminibus celebretur. Paul, 
1. i. c. 27. He died A. D. 709 (Muratori, in Pnefat. torn. i. p. ;'>97). These German 
pongs, some of which might be as old as Tacitus (de Moribus Germ. c. 2), were 
compiled and transcribed by Charlemagne. Barbara et antiquissima Carolina, 
quibus veterum regum actus et bella canebantur s< ripsit menioriaeque mandavit 
(Kginard, in Vit. Carol. Magn. c. 29, pp. 130, 131). The poems, which Ooblast 
commends (Animadvers. ad Eginard, p. 207), appear to be recent and contempt- 
ible romances. 



20 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

highways, were familiar to tlieir memory : the report of 
their success, perhaps the view of their spoils, had kindled 
in the risinggeneration the flame of emulation and enterprise. 
Their hopes were encouraged by the spirit and eloquence of 
Alboin ; and it is affirmed, that lie spoke to their senses, by 
producing, at the royal feast, the fairest and most exquisite 
fruits that grew spontaneously in the garden of the world. 
No sooner had he erected his standard, than the native 
strength of the Lombards was multiplied by the adventurous 
youth of Germany and Scythia. The robust peasantry of 
Noricum and Pannonia had resumed the manners of Barba- 
rians ; and the names of the Gepidae, Bulgarians, Sarmatians, 
and Bavarians, may be distinctly traced in the provinces of 
Italy. 13 Of the Saxons, the old allies of the Lombards, 
twenty thousand warriors, with their wives and children, 
accepted the invitation of Alboin. Their bravery contributed 
to his success ; but the accession or the absence of their 
numbers was not sensibly felt in the magnitude of his host. 
Every mode of religion was freely practised by its respective 
votaries. The king of the Lombards had been educated in 
the Arian heresy ; but the Catholics, in their public worship, 
were allowed to pray for his conversion ; while the more 
stubborn Barbarians sacrificed a she-goat, or perhaps a cap- 
tive, to the gods of their fathers. 14 The Lombards, and 
their confederates, were united by their common attachment 
to a chief, who excelled in all the virtues and vices of a sav- 
age hero; and the vigilance of Alboin provided an ample 
magazine of offensive and defensive arms for the use of the 
expedition. The portable wealth of the Lombards attended 
the march : their lands they cheerfully relinquished to the 
Avars, on the solemn promise, which was made and accept- 
ed without a smile, that if they failed in the conquest of 
Italy, these voluntary exiles should be reinstated in their 
former possessions. 

They might have failed, if Karses had been the antagonist 
of the Lombards ; and the veteran warriors, the associates 
of his Gothic victory, would have encountered with reluc- 
tance an enemy whom they dreaded and esteemed. But 
the weakness of the Byzantine court was subservient to the 

» The other nations are rehearsed hy Paul (1. ii. c. 6, 26). Muratori (Antiehita 
Itahane, torn, i dissert, i. p. 4) has discovered the village of the Bavarians, three 
miles from Modena. 

14 Gregory the I toman (Dialog. 1. iii. c. 27, 28, apud Baron. Annal. Eecles. A. 
D. 570, No. 10) supposes that they likewise adored this she-goat. I know hut of 
One religion in which the god and the victim are the same. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 21 

Barbarian cause; and it was for the rnin of Italy, that the 
emperor once listened to the complaints of his subjects. The 
virtues of Narses were stained with avarice ; and, in his 
provincial reign of fifteen years, lie accumulated a treasure 
of gold and silver whi'jh surpassed the modesty of a private 
fortune. His government was oppressive or unpopular, and 
the general discontent was expressed with freedom by the 
deputies of Rome. Before the throne of Justin they boldly 
declared, that their Gothic servitude had been more tolerable 
than the despotism of a Greek eunuch ; and that, unless their 
tyrant were instantly removed, they would consult their 
own happiness in the choice of a master. The apprehension 
of a revolt was urged by the voice of envy and detraction, 
which had so recently triumphed over the merit of Belisarius. 
A new exarch, Longmus, was appointed to supersede the 
conqueror of Italy, and the base motives of his recall were 
revealed in the insulting mandate of the empress Sophia, 
"that he should leave to men the exercise of arms, and 
return to his proper station among the maidens of the palace, 
where a distaff should be again placed in the hand of the 
eunuch." "I will spin her such a thread as she shall not 
easily unravel ! " is said to have been the reply which 
indignation and conscious virtue extorted from the hero. 
Instead of attending, a slave and a victim, at the gate of the 
Byzantine palace, he retired to Naples, from whence (if any 
credit is due to the belief of the times) Narses invited the 
Lombards to chastise the ingratitude of the prince and 
people. 15 But the passions of the people are furious and 
changeable, and the Romans soon recollected the merits, or 
dreaded the resentment, of their victorious general. By the 
mediation of the pope, who undertook a special pilgrimage 
to Naples, their repentance was accepted ; and Narses, 
assuming a milder aspect and a more dutiful language, 
consented to fix his residence in the Capitol. His death, 16 
though in the extreme period of old age, was unseasonable 
and premature, since his genius alone could have repaired 

55 The charge of the deacon against Narses (1. ii. c. 5) may he groundless , but 
the weak apology of the Cardinal (Baron. Annal. Eecles. A. D. 567. No. 8-12) is 
rejected by the best critics— Pagi (torn. ii. pp. 639, 640), Muratori (Annali. 
d'ltalia, torn v. pp. 160 163), and the last editors, Horatius Blancus (Script. 
Rerum Italic, torn. i. pp. J 27, 428) and Philip Argelatus (Sigon. Opera, torn. ii. 
pp. 11, 12). The Narses who assisted at the coronation of Justin (Corippus, 1. iii. 
221) is cleavlv understood to be a different person. 

10 The death of Narses is mentioned by Paul, 1. ii. c It. Anastas in Vit. 
Johan. iii. p. 43. Agnellus, Liber Pontifical. Raven, in Scrint. Per. Italicarum, 
torn. ii. part i- pp. 114, 124. Yet I cannot believe with Agnellus that Narses was 
ninety-rive years of age. Is it probable that all his exploits were performed at 
fourscore ? 



22 TIIE DECLINE AND FALL 

the last and fatal error of his life. The reality, or the sus- 
picion, of a conspiracy disarmed and disunited the Italians. 
The soldiers resented the disgrace, and bewailed the loss, of 
their general. Th^y were ignorant of their new exarch ; and 
Longinus was himself ignorant of the state of the army and 
the province. In the preceding years Italy had been deso- 
lated by pestilence and famine, and a disaffected people 
ascribed the calamities of nature to the guilt or folly of 
their rulers. 17 

Whatever might be the grounds of his security, Alboin 
neither expected nor encountered a Roman army in the field. 
He ascended the Julian Alps, and looked down with con 
tempt and desire on the fruitful plains to which his victory 
communicated the perpetual appellation of Lombardy. A 
faithful chieftain, and a select band, were stationed at Forum 
Julii, the modern Friuli, to guard the passes of the moun- 
tains. The Lombards respected the strength of Pavia, and 
listened to the prayers of the Trevisans : their slow and 
heavy multitudes proceeded to occupy the palace and city of 
Verona ; and Milan, now rising from her ashes, was invest- 
ed by the powers of Alboin live months after his departure 
from Pannonia. Terror preceded his march: he found 
every where, or he left, a dreary solitude ; and the pusillan- 
imous Italians presumed, without a trial, that the stranger 
was invincible. Escaping to lakes, or rocks, or morasses, 
the affrighted crowds concealed some fragments of the 
wealth, and delayed the moment of their servitude. Paul- 
inus, the patriarch of Aquileia, removed his treasures, sacred 
and profane, to the Isle of Grado, 18 and his successors w r ere 
adopted by the infant republic of Venice, which was contin- 
ually enriched by the public calamities. Honoratus, who 
filled the chair of St. Ambrose, had credulously accepted 
the faithless offers of a capitulation ; and the archbishop, 
with the clergy and nobles of Milan, were driven by the per- 
fidy of Alboin to seek a refuge in the less accessible ramparts 
of Genoa. Along the maritime coast, the courage of the 
inhabitants was supported by the facility of supply, the hopes 

" The designs of Narses and of the Lombards for the invasion of Italy are 
exposed in the last chapter of the lirst book, and the seven first chapters of the 
second book, of Paul the deacon. 

18 Which from this translation was called New Aqt'iileia (Chron. Venet. p. 3). 
The patriarch of Grado soon became the first citizen of the republic (p. 0, &c.) 
but his seat was not removed to Venice till the year 1450. He is now decorated 
with titles and honors ; but the genius of the church has bowed to that of the 
state, and the government of a Catholic city is strictly Presbyterian. Thomas- 
sin, Discipline de l'Eglise, torn. i. pp. 156, 157, 161-165. Ainelot de la Hou8 
saye, Gouvernement de Venise, torn. i. pp. 256-261. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 23 

of relief, and the power of escape ; but from the Trentine 
hills to the gates of Ravenna and Rome the inland regions 
of Italy became, without a battle or a siege, the lasting pat- 
rimony of the Lombards. The submission of the people in- 
vited the Barbarian to assume the character of a lawful 
sovereign, and the helpless exarch was confined to the office 
of announcing to the emperor Justin the rapid and irretriev- 
able loss of his provinces and cities. 19 One city, which had 
been diligently fortified by the Goths, resisted the arms of a 
new invader; and, while Italy was subdued by the flying 
detachments of the Lombards, the royal camp was fixed 
above three years before the western gate of Ticinum, or 
Pavia. The same courage which obtains the esteem of a 
civilized enemy provokes the fury of a savage, and the im- 
patient besieger had bound himself by a tremendous oath, 
that age, and sex, and dignity, should be confounded in a 
general massacre. The aid of famine at length enabled him 
to execute his bloody vow ; but, as Alboin entered the gate, 
his horse stumbled, fell, and could not be raised from the 
ground. One of his attendants was prompted by compas- 
sion, or piety, to interpret this miraculous sign of the wrath 
of Heaven : the conqueror paused and relented ; he sheathed 
his sword, and peacefully reposing himself in the palace of 
Theodoric, proclaimed to the trembling multitude that they 
should live and obey. Delighted with the situation of a city 
which was endeared to his pride by the difficulty of the pur- 
chase, the prince of the Lombards disdained the ancient 
glories of Milan ; and Pavia, during some ages, was respect- 
ed as the capital of the kingdom of Italy.* 20 

The reign of the founder was splendid and transient ; 
and, before he could regulate his new conquests, Alboin fell 
a sacrifice to domestic treason and female revenge. In a 
palace near Verona, which had not been erected for the 
Barbarians, he feasted the companions of his arms ; intoxi- 
cation was the reward of valor, and the king himself was 
tempted by appetite, or vanity, to exceed the ordinary meas- 
ure of his intemperance. After draining many capacious 
bowls of Rha3tian or Falernian wine, he called for the skull 

19 Paul has given a description of Ttaly, as it was then divided, into eighteen 
regions (]. ii. c. 14-24). The Dissertatio Chorographica de Italia Medii JE\i, by 
Father Beretti, a Benedictine monk, and regins professor at Pavia, has been 
usefully consulted. 

2J For the conquest of Italy, see the original materials of Paul (1. ii. e.7-10, 12, 
14, 25, 26, 27), the eloquent narrative of Sigonius(tom. ii. de Regno Italia?, 1. i. pp. 
13-19), and the correct and critical review of Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, torn. v. pp 
164-180). 



24 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Cunirnund,the noblest and most precious ornament of his 
sideboard. The cup of victory was accepted with horrid ap- 
plause by the circle of the Lombard chiefs. " Fill it again 
with wine," exclaimed the inhuman conqueror, u fill it to the 
brim : carry this goblet to the queen, and request in my 
name that she would rejoice with her father." In an agony 
of grief and rage, Rosamond had strength to utter, 4t Let 
the will of my lord be obeyed ! " and, touching it with her 
lips, pronounced a silent imprecation, that the insult should 
be washed away in the blood of Alboin. Some indulgence 
might be due to the resentment of a daughter, if she had not 
already violated the duties of a wife. Implacable in her 
enmity, or inconstant in her love, the queen of Italy had 
stooped from the throne to the arms of a subject, and Hel- 
michis, the king's armor-bearer, was the secret minister of 
her pleasure and revenge. Against the proposal of the 
murder, he could no longer urge the scruples of fidelity or 
gratitude ; but Helmichis trembled when he revolved the 
danger as well as the guilt, when he recollected the match- 
less strength and intrepidity of a warrior whom he had so 
often attended in the field of battle. Pie pressed and ob- 
tained, that one of the bravest champions of the Lombards 
should be associated to the enterprise; but no more than a 
promise of secrecy could be drawn from the gallant Pere- 
deus, and the mode of seduction employed by Rosamond 
betrays her shameless insensibility both to honor and love. 
She supplied the place of one of her female attendants who 
was beloved by Peredeus, and contrived some excuse for 
darkness and silence, till she could inform her companion 
that lie had enjoyed the queen of the Lombards, and that 
his own death, or the death of Alboin, must be the conse- 
quence of such treasonable adultery. In this alternative he 
choose rather to be the accomplice than the victim of Rosa- 
mond,' 21 whose undaunted spirit was incapable of fear or 
remorse. She expected and soon found a favorable moment, 
when the king, oppressed with wine, had retired from the 
table to his afternoon slumbers. His faithless spouse was 
anxious for his health and repose : the gates of the palace 
were shut, the arms removed, the attendants dismissed, and 



ei The classical i-eader will recollect the wife and murder of Candaules, bo 
agreeably told in the first book of Herodotus The choice of Gycres, aipeer at 
avros 7repien'ai, may serve as the excuse of Peredeus : and this soft insinuation of 
an odious idea has b«eu imitated by the best writers of antiquity (Grasvius, ad 
Ciceron. Orat. pro Milone, c. 10). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 25 

Rosamond, after lulling him to rest by her tender caresses, 
unbolted the chamber door, and urged the reluctant con- 
spirators to the instant execution of the deed. On the first 
alarm, the warrior started from his couch : his sword, which 
he attempted to draw, had been fastened to the scabbard by 
the hand of Rosamond ; and a small stool, his only weapon, 
could not long protect him from the spears of the assassins. 
The daughter of Cunimund smiled in his fall : his body was 
buried under the staircase of the palace ; and the grateful, 
posterity of the Lombards revered the tomb and the memory 
of their victorious leader. 

The ambitious Rosamond aspired to reign in the name 
of her lover; the city and palace of Verona were awed by 
her power ; and a faithful band of her native Gepidie was 
prepared to applaud the revenge, and to second the wishes, 
of their sovereign. But the Lombard chiefs, who tied in the 
first moments of consternation and disorder, had resumed 
their courage and collected their powers ; and the nation, 
instead of submitting to her reign, demanded, with unani- 
mous cries, that justice should be executed on the guilty 
spouse and the murderers of their king. She sought a re- 
fuge among the enemies of her country ; and a criminal who 
deserved the abhorrence of mankind was protected by the 
selfish policy of the exarch. With her daughter, the heiress 
of the Lombard throne, her two lovers, her trusty Gcpidae, 
and the spoils of the palace of Verona, Rosamond descended 
the Adige and the Po, and was transported by a Greek ves- 
sel to the safe harbor of Ravenna. Lononnus beheld with 
delight the charms and the treasures of the widow of Alboin : 
her situation and her past conduct might justify the most 
licentious proposals; and she readily listened to the passion 
of a minister, who, even in the decline of the empire, was 
respected as the equal of kings. The death of a jealous 
lover was an easy and grateful sacrifice ; and, as Helmichis 
issued from the bath, he received the deadly potion from the 
hand of his mistress. The taste of the liquor, its speedy 
operation, and his experience of the character of Rosamond, 
convinced him that he was poisoned : he pointed his dagger 
to her breast, compelled her to drain the remainder of the 
cup, and expired in a few minutes, with the consolation that 
she could not survive to enjoy the fruits of her wickedness. 
The daughter of Alboin and Rosamond, with the richest 
spoils of the Lombards, was embarked for Constantinople: 
the surprising strength of Peredeus amused and terrified 



26 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the Imperial court : * his blindness and revenge exhibited an 
imperfect copy of the adventures of Samson. By the free 
suffrage of the nation, in the assembly of Pavia, Clepho, 
one of their noblest chiefs, was elected as the suceessur of 
Alboin. Before the end of eighteen months, the throne was 
polluted by a second murder : Clepho was stabbed by the 
hand of a domestic ; the regal office was suspended above 
ten years during the minority of his son Autharis ; and Italy 
was divided and oppressed by a ducal aristocracy of thirty 
tyrants. 22 

When the nephew of Justinian ascended the throne, lie 
proclaimed a new sera of happiness and glory. The annals 
of the second Justin' 23 are marked with disgrace abroad and 
misery at home. In the West, the Roman empire was af- 
flicted by the loss of Italy, the desolation of Africa, and the 
conquests of the Persians. Injustice prevailed both in the 
capitat and the provinces . the rich trembled for their prop- 
erty, the poor for their safety, the ordinary magistrates 
were ignorant or venal, the occasional remedies appear to 
have been arbitrary and violent, and the complaints of the 
people could no longer be silenced by the splendid names of 
a legislator and a conqueror. The opinion which imputes 
to the prince all the calamities of his times mny be coun- 
tenanced by the historian as a serious truth or a salutary 
prejudice. Yet a candid suspicion will arise, that the senti- 
ments of Justin were pure and benevolent, and that he 
might have filled his station without reproach, if the facul- 
ties of his mind had not been impaired by disease, which de- 
prived the emperor of the use of his feet, and confined him 
to the palace, a stranger to the complaints of the people and 
the vices of the government. The tardy knowledge of his 
own impotence determined him to lay down the weight of 
the diadem; and, in the choice of a worthy substitute, he 
showed some symptoms of a discerning and even magnani- 
mous spirit. The only son of Justin and Sophia died in his 

22 See the history of Paul, 1. ii. c. 28-32. I have borrowed some interesting 
circumstances from the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus, in Script. Rer. Ital. torn. 
ii. p. 124. Of all chronological guides, Muratori is the safest. 

23 Tho criginal authors for the reign of Justin the younger are Evagrius,Hist. 
Eccles. 1. v. c. 1-12 ; Theophanes, in Chonograph. pp. 204-210 ; Zonaras, torn. ii. 
1. xiv. pp. 70-72 ; Cedrenus, in Compend. pp. 388-392. 



• He killed a lion. His eyes were put out by the timid Justin. Peredeus re- 
questing an interview, Justin substituted two patricians, whom the blinded 
Barbarian stabbed to the heart with two concealed daggers. See Le Beau, vol. 
x. p. 99.— M. 



OP THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 27 

infancy ; their daughter Arabia was the wife of Baduarius, 24 
superintendent of the palace, and afterwards commander of 
the Italian armies, who vainly aspired to confirm the rights 
of marriage by those of adoption. While the empire ap- 
peared an object of desire, Justin was accustomed to behold 
with jealousy and hatred his brothers and cousins, the rivals 
of his hopes ; nor could he depend on the gratitude of those 
who would accept the purple as a restitution, rather than a 
gift. Of these competitors, one had been removed by exile, 
and afterwards by death ; and the emperor himself had in- 
flicted such cruel insults on another, that he must either 
dread his resentment or despise his patience. This domes- 
tic animosity was refined into a generous resolution of seek- 
ing a successor, not in his family, but in the republic ; and 
the artful Sophia recommended Tiberius," his faithful cap- 
tain of the guards, whose virtues and fortune the emperor 
might cherish as the fruit of his judicious choice. The cere- 
mony of his elevation to the rank of Caesar, or Augustus, 
was performed in the portico of the palace, in the presence 
of the patriarch and the senate. Justin collected the re- 
maining strength of his mind and body ; but the popular 
"belief that his speech was inspired by the Deity betrays a 
very humble opinion both of the man and of the times.* 
"You behold," said the emperor, "the ensigns of supreme 
power. You are about to receive them, not from my hand, 
but from the hand of God. Honor them, and from them 
you will derive honor. Respect the empress your mother: 
you are now her son ; before, you were her servant. De- 
light not in blood ; abstain from revenge ; avoid those ac- 
tions by which I have incurred the public hatred ; and con- 
sult the experience, rather than the example, of your prede- 
cessor. As a man, I have sinned ; as a sinner, even in this 
life, I have been severely punished : but these servants (and 

24 Disposi torque novus sacrae Baduarius aula?. 

Successor soceri mox factus Cura-palati.— Corippus. 

Baduarius is enumerated among the descendants and allies of the house of 
Justinian. A family of noble Venetians (Casa Badoero) built, churches and gave 
dukes to the republic as early as the ninth century : and tf their descent be ad- 
mitted, no kings in Europe can produce a pedigree so ancient and ilhisttious. 
Bncange, Fam. Byzantin. p. 99. Amelot delaHoussaye, Gouvernement de Venise, 
torn. ii. p. 555. 

•■> The praise bestowed on princes before their elevation is the purest and most 
weighty Corippus lias celebrated Tiberius at the time of the accession of Justin 
(1. l. 212-222). Yet even a captain of the guards might attract the flattery of an 
African exile. 

26 Evagrius (1. v. c. 13) has added the reproach to his ministers. He applies 
this speech to the ceremony when Tiberius was invested with the rank of Csesar. 
The loose expression, rather than the positive error, of Theophanes, &c, has 
delayed it to hia Augustan investiture, immediately before the death of Justin. 



28 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

he pointed to his ministers), who have abused my confidence, 
and inflamed my passions, will appear with me before the 
tribunal of Christ. I have been dazzled by the splendor of 
the diadem: be thou wise and modest; remember what you 
have been, remember what you are. You see. around us 
your slaves, and your children : with the authority, assume 
the tenderness, of a parent. Love your people like your- 
self; cultivate the affections, maintain the discipline, of the 
army ; protect the fortunes of the rich, relieve the necessities 
of the poor." 27 The assembly, in silence and in tears, ap- 
plauded the counsels, and sympathized with the repentance, 
of their prince : the patriarch rehearsed the prayers of the 
church ; Tiberius received the diadem on his knees ; and 
Justin, who in his abdication appeared most worthy to 
reign, addressed the new monarch in the following words: 
" If you consent, I live ; if you command, I die : may the 
God of heaven and earth infuse into your heart whatever I 
have neglected or forgotten." The four last years of the 
emperor Justin were passed in tranquil obscurity: his con- 
science was no longer tormented by the remembrance of 
those duties which he was incapable of discharging ; and 
Ills choice was justified by the filial reverence and gratitude 
of Tiberius. 

Among the virtues of Tiberius, 28 his beauty (he was one 
of the tallest and most comely of the Romans) might intro- 
duce him to the favor of Sophia; and the widow of Justin 
was persuaded, that she should preserve her station and in- 
fluence under the reign of a second and more youthful hus- 
band. But, if the ambitious candidate had been tempted 
to flatter and dissemble, it was no longer in his power to 
fulfil her expectations, or his own promise. The factions of 
the hippodrome demanded, with some impatience, the name 
of their new empress : both the people and Sophia were as- 
tonished by the proclamation of Anastasia, the secret, though 
lawful, wife of the emperor Tiberius. Whatever could alle- 
viate the disappointment of Sophia, Imperial honors, a 
stately palace, a numerous household, was liberally bestowed 
by the piety of her adopted son ; on solemn occasions he 

2i Theophylact Simocatta (1. iii. c. 11) declares that lie shall give to posterity 
the; speech of Justin as it was pronounced, without attempting to correct the im- 
perfections of language or rhetoric. Perhaps the vain sophist would have been 
incapable ot producing such sentiments. 

28 For the character and reign of Tiberius, see Evagrius, 1. v. c. 13. Theophy- 
lact, 1. iii. e. 12, &c. Theophanes, in Chron. pp. 210-213. Zonaras. torn. ii. i. xiv. 
p. 72 Cedrenus, p. 3!>2. Paul Warnefrid, de Gescis Langobard. 1. iii. c. 11, 12. 
The deacon of Forum Julii appears to have possessed some curious and authentic 
facts. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 29 

attended and consulted the widow of his benefactor; but 
her ambition disdained the vain semblance of royalty, and 
the respectful appellation of mother served to exasperate, 
rather than appease, the rage of an injured woman. While 
she accepted, and repaid with a courtly smile, the fair ex- 
pressions of regard and confidence, a secret alliance was 
concluded between the dowager empress and her ancient 
enemies; and Justinian, the son of Germanus, was employed 
as the instrument of her revenge. The pride of the reigning 
house supported, with reluctance, the dominion of a stranger: 
the youth was deservedly popular; his name, after the death 
of Justin, had been mentioned by a tumultuous faction; 
and his own submissive offer of his head, with a treasure of 
sixty thousand pounds, might be interpreted as an evidence 
of guilt, or at least of fear. Justinian received a free par- 
don, and the command of the eastern army. The Persian 
monarch fled before his arms ; and the acclamations which 
accompanied his triumph declared him worthy of the purple. 
His artful patroness had chosen the month of the vintage, 
while the emperor, in a rural solitude, was permitted to en- 
joy the pleasures of a subject. On the first intelligence of 
her designs, he returned to Constantinople, and the con- 
spiracy was suppressed by his presence and firmness. From 
the pomp and honors which she had abused, Sophia was 
reduced to a modest allowance : Tiberius dismissed her train, 
intercepted her correspondence, and committed to a faithful 
guard the custody of her person. But the services of Jus- 
tinian, were not considered by that excellent prince as an 
aggravation of his offences: after a mild reproof, his treason 
and ingratitude were forgiven ; and it was commonly be- 
lieved, that the emperor entertained some thoughts of con- 
tracting a double alliance with the rival of his throne. The 
voice of an angel (such a fable was propagated) might re- 
veal to the emperor, that he should always triumph over his 
domestic foes ; but Tiberius derived a firmer assurance from 
the innocence and generosity of his own mind. 

With the odious name of Tiberius, he assumed the more 
popular appellation of Constantine, and imitated the purer 
virtues of the Antonines. After recording the vice or folly 
of so many Roman princes, it is pleasing to repose, for a 
moment, on a character conspicuous by the qualities of hu- 
manity, justice, temperance, and fortitude ; to contemplate 
a sovereign affable in his palace, pious in the church, impar- 
tial on the seat of judgment, and victorious, at least by his 



30 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

generals, in the Persian war. The most glorious trophy of 
his victory consisted in a multitude of captives, whom Tibe- 
rius entertained, redeemed, and dismissed to their native 
homes with the charitable spirit of a Christian hero. The 
merit or misfortunes of his own subjects had a dearer claim 
to his beneficence, and lie measured his bounty not so much 
by their expectations as by his own dignity. This maxim, 
however dangerous in a trustee of the public wealth, was 
balanced by a principle of humanity and justice, which 
taught him to abhor, as of the basest alloy, the gold that 
was extracted from the tears of the people. For their 
relief, as often as they had suffered by natural or hostile 
calamities, he was impatient to remit the arrears of the past, 
or the demands of future taxes : lie sternly rejected the ser- 
vile offerings of his ministers, which were compensated by 
tenfold oppression ; and the wise and equitable laws of Ti- 
berius excited the praise and regret of succeeding times. 
Constantinople believed that the emperor had discovered a 
treasure : but his genuine treasure consisted in the practice 
of liberal economy, and the contempt of all vain and super- 
fluous expense. The Romans of the East would have been 
happy, if the best gift of Heaven, a patriot king, had been 
confirmed as a proper and permanent blessing. But in less 
than four years after the death of Justin, his worthy succes- 
sor sunk into a mortal disease, which left him only sufficient 
time to restore the diadem, according to the tenure by 
which he held it, to the most deserving of his fellow-citizens. 
He selected Maurice from the crowd, a judgment more 
precious than the purple itself : the patriarch and senate 
were summoned to the bed of the dying prince : he bestowed 
his daughter and the empire ; and his last advice was 
solemnly delivered by the voice of the quaestor. Tiberius 
expressed his hope that the virtues of his son and successor 
would erect the noblest mausoleum to his memory. His 
memory was embalmed by the public affliction ; but the 
most sincere grief evaporates in the tumult of a new reign, 
and the eyes and acclamations of mankind were speedily 
directed to the rising sun. 

The emperor Maurice derived his origin from ancient 
Rome ; * 9 but his immediate parents were settled at Arabis- 

29 It is therefore singular enough that Paul (1. iii. c. 15) should distinguish him 
as the first Greek emperor — primus ex Grjeeorum genere in linpeno constitutus. 
llis immediate predecessors had indeed been horn in the Latin provinces of Eu- 
rope : and a various reading, in Graieorum lmperio, would apply the expression to 
the empire rather than the prince. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 31 

sus in Cappadocia, and their singular felicity preserved them 
alive to behold and partake the fortune of their august son. 
The youth of Maurice was spent in the profession of anus : 
Tiberius promoted him to the command of a new and favor- 
ite legion of twelve thousand confederates; his valor and 
conduct were signalized in the Persian war; and lie re- 
turned to Constantinople to accept, as his just reward, the 
inheritance of the empire. Maurice ascended the throne at 
the mature age of forty-three years ; and he reigned above 
twenty years over the East and over himself ; a0 expelling 
from his mind the wild democracy of passions, and establish- 
ing (according to the quaint expression of Evagrius) a 
perfect aristocracy of reason and virtue. Some suspicion 
will degrade the testimony of a subject, though he protests 
that his secret praise should never reach the ear of his 
sovereign, 31 and some failings seem to place the character of 
Maurice below the purer merit of his predecessor. His cold 
and reserved demeanor might be imputed to arrogance ; his 
justice was not always exempt from cruelty, nor his clem- 
ency from weakness ; and his rigid economy too often 
exposed him to the reproach of avarice. But the rational 
wishes of an absolute monarch must tend to the happiness 
of his people : Maurice was endowed with sense and courage 
to promote that happiness, and his administration was 
directed by the principles and example of Tiberius. The 
pusillanimity of the Greeks had introduced so complete a 
separation between the offices of king and of general, that a 
private soldier, who had deserved and obtained the* purple, 
seldom or never appeared at the head of his armies. Yet 
the emperor Maurice enjoyed the glory of restoring the 
Persian monarch to his throne ; his lieutenants waged a 
doubtful war against the Avars of the Danube ; and he cast 
an «ye of pity, of ineffectual pity, on the abject and distress- 
ful state of his Italian provinces. 

From Italy the emperors were incessantly tormented by 
tales of misery and demands of succor, which extorted the 
humiliating confession of their own weakness. The expiring 
dignity of Rome was only marked by the freedom and 

3,J Consult, for the character and reign ot Maurice, the fifth and .sixth hooks of 
Evagrius, particularly 1. vi. c. 1 ; the eight books of his prolix and florid history 
by Theophylact Siniocatta ; Theophanes, p. 213, &c. , Zonaras, torn. ii. 1. xiv p. 
73 i Cedrenus, p. 394. 

31 Ai»To/cpa.rii>p 6fT0)5 ■ycpo/i.iEi'o; Trjv ixev o \XoKpaTetai> twv votiuiv ex rr;<; oiweiar 
ef ev»jAaTr/<x* <//'.' x»J?* np <TTOKpaT(iav be tv toi? eavrov AoyicrnOis KciTaoTrio a/xti-os Evag- 

rius composed his history in the twelfth year of Maurice ; and he had been so 
wisely indiscreet that the emperor knew and rewarded his tavorabie opinion 
(1. vi. c. 24). 



3'2 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

energy of licr complaints : "If you are incapable," she sni<l, 
" of delivering us from the sword of the Lombards, save us 
at least from the calamity of famine.'" Tiberius forgave the 
reproach, and relieved the distress * a supply of corn was 
transported from Egypt to the Tiber; and the Roman 
people, invoking the name, not of Camillus, but of St. Peter, 
repulsed the Barbarians from their walls. But the relief was 
accidental, the danger was perpetual and pressing ; and the 
clergy and senate, collecting the remains of their ancient 
opulence, a sum of three thousand pounds of gold, despatched 
the patrician Pamphronius to lay their gifts and their com- 
plaints at the foot of the Byzantine throne. The attention 
of the court, and the forces of the East, were diverted by 
the Persian war: but the justice of Tiberius applied the 
subsidy to the defence of the city ; and he dismissed the 
patrician with his best advice, either to bribe the bombard 
chiefs, or to purchase the aid of the kings of France. Not- 
withstanding this weak invention, Italy was still afflicted, 
Koine was again besieged, and the suburb of Classe, only 
three miles from Ravenna, was pillaged and occupied by the 
troops of a simple duke of Spoleto. Maurice gave audience 
to a second deputation of priests and senators: the duties 
and the menaces of religion were forcibly urged in the letters 
of the Roman pontiff; and his nuncio, the deacon Gregory, 
was alike qualified to solicit the powers either of heaven or 
of the earth. The emperor adopted, with stronger effect, 
the measures of his predecessor : some formidable chiefs 
were persuaded to embrace the friendship of the Romans ; 
and one of them, a mild and faithful Barbarian, lived and 
died in the service of the exarch : the passes of the Alps 
were delivered to the Franks ; and the pope encouraged 
them to violate, without scruple, their oaths and engage- 
ments to the misbelievers. Childebert, the great-grandson 
of Clovis, was persuaded to invade Italy by the payment of 
fifty thousand pieces ' but, as he had viewed with delight 
some Byzantine coin of the weight of one pound of gold, the 
king of Austrasia might stipulate, that the gift should be 
rendered more worthy of his acceptance., by a proper mix- 
ture of these respectable medals. The dukes of the Lom- 
bards had provoked by frequent inroads their powerful 
neighbors of Gaul. As soon as they were apprehensive of 
a just retaliation, they renounced their feeble and disorderly 
independence: the advantages of regal government, union, 
secrecy, and vigor, were unanimously confessed ; and Autha- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 33 

ris, the son of Clepho, had already attained the strength and 
reputation of a warrior. Under the standard of their new 
king, the conquerors of Italy withstood three successive in- 
vasions, one of which was led by Childebert himself, the last 
of the Merovingian race who descended from the Alps. 
The first expedition was defeated by the jealous animosity 
of the Franks and Alemanni. In the second they were van- 
quished in a bloody battle, with more loss and dishonor than 
they had sustained since the foundation of their monarchy. 
Impatient for revenge, they returned a third time with accu- 
mulated force, and Autharis yielded to the fury of the tor- 
rent. The troops and treasures of the Lombards were dis- 
tributed in the walled towns between the Alps and the Apen- 
nme. A nation, less sensible of danger than of fatigue and 
delay, soon murmured, against the folly of their twenty 
commanders ; and the hot vapors of an Italian sun infected 
with disease those tramontane bodies which had already 
suffered the vicissitudes of intemperance and famine. The 
powers that were inadequate to the conquest, were more 
than sufficient for the desolation, of the country ; nor could 
the trembling natives distinguish between their enemies and 
their deliverers. If the junction of the Merovingian and 
Imperial forces had been effected in the neighborhood of 
Milan, perhaps they might have subverted the throne of the 
Lombards ; but the Franks expected six days the signal of 
a flaming village, and the arms of the Greeks were idly em- 
ployed in the reduction of Modena and Parma, which were 
torn from them after the retreat of their transalpine allies. 
The victorious Autharis asserted his claim to the dominion 
of Italy. At the foot ot the Rhaetian Alps, lie subdued the 
resistance, and rifled the hidden treasures, of a sequestered 
island in the Lake of Comum. At the extreme point of 
Calabria, he touched with his spear a column on the sea- 
shore of Rhegium, 32 proclaiming that ancient landmark to 
stand the immovable boundary of his kingdom. 83 

During a period of two hundred years, Italy was un- 
equally divided between the kingdom of the Lombards and 

91 'he Coluinna Rhegina, in the narrowest part of the Faro ot Messina, one 
hundred stadia from Rhegium itself, is frequently mentioned in ancient geog- 
raphy Cluver Ital. Antiq torn li p 1295. Lucas Holsten Annotat. ad Cluver. 
p. 301. Wesseling, Itinerar. p. 106 

Xi The Greek historians afford some faint hints of the wars ot Italy (Mei ander, 
in Excerpt, l.egat. pp 124, 126 Theophylact. 1 iii c. 4) The Latins are more 
satisfactory, and especially Paui Warnefrid (I iii c. 13—34), who had read the 
more ancient histories of Secundus and Gregory of Tours Baronius produces 
s<w I -ttevs of the popes, &c. ; and the times are measured hy the accurate scale 
ot Pagi and Muratori. 

V 0L . iv.— 3 



34 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the exarchate of Ravenna. The offices and professions, 
which the jealousy of Constantine had separated, were 
united by the indulgence of Justinian; and eighteen suc- 
cessive exarchs were invested, in the decline ot the empire, 
with the full remains of civil, of military, and even of ec- 
clesiastical, power. Their immediate jurisdiction, which 
was afterwards consecrated as the patrimony of St. Petei\ 
extended over the modern Romagna, the marshes or valleys 
of Ferrara and Commachio, 34 live maritime cities from 
Rimini to Ancona, and a second inland Pentapolis, between 
the Adriatic coast and the hills of the Appenine. Three 
subordinate provinces of Rome, of Venice, and of Naples, 
which were divided by hostile lands from the palace of Ra- 
venna, acknowledged, both in peace and war, the supremacy 
of the exarch. The duchy of Rome appears to have in- 
cluded the Tuscan, Sabine, and Latin conquests, of the first 
four hundred years of the city, and the limits may be dis- 
tinctly traced along the coast, from Civita Vecchia to Ter- 
racina, and with the course of the Tiber from Ameria and 
Kami to the port of Ostia. The numerous islands from 
Grado to Chiozza composed the infant dominion of Venice : 
but the more accessible towns on the Continent were over- 
thrown by the Lombards, w r ho beheld with impotent fury a 
new capital rising from the waves. The power of the dukes 
ot Maples was circumscribed by the bay and the adjacent 
.isles, by the hostile territory of Capua, and by the Roman 
colony of Amalphi, 35 whose industrious citizens, by the in- 
vention of the mariner's compass, have unveiled the face of 
the globe. The three islands of Sardinia, Corsica, and 
Sicily, still adhered to the empire ; and the acquisition of 
the farther Calabria removed the landmark of Autharis 
from the shore of Rhegium to the Isthmus of Consentia. 
.In Sardinia, the savage mountaineers preserved the liberty 
and religion of their ancestors ; but the husbandmen of 
Sicily were chained to their rich and cultivated soil. Rome 
was oppressed by the iron sceptre of the exarchs, and a 
Greek, perhaps a eunuch, insulted with impunity the ruins 
of the Capitol. But Naples soon acquired the privilege of 
electing her own dukes : 36 the independence of Amalphi was 

34 The papal advocates, Zacagni and Fontanini, might justly claim the valley 
ot morass of Oommachio as a part of the exarchate. Hut the ambition of in- 
cluding Modena, lleggio, Parma, and Placentia. lias darkened a geographical 
question somewhat doubtful and obscure. Even Murato.i, as the servant of the 
Louse of Este, is not free from partiality and prejudice. 

3i See Brenckman, Dissert. I>na de Republics Ainalphitanl. pp. 1-42, ad calcem 
Hist. Pandect. Florent. 36 Gregor. Magn. 1. iii. epist. 23, 25. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. v35 

the fruit of commerce ; and the voluntary attachment of 
Venice was finally ennoblecl by an equal alliance with the 
Eastern empire. On the map of Italy, the measure of the 
exarchate occupies a very inadequate space, but it included 
an ample proportion of wealth, industry, and population. 
The most faithful and valuable subjects escaped from the 
Barbarian yoke ; and the banners of Pa via and Verona, of 
Milan and Padua, were displayed in their respective quar- 
ters by the new inhabitants of Ravenna. The remainder of 
Italy was possessed by the Lombards ; and from Pavia, the 
royal seat, their kingdom was extended to the east, the 
north, and the west, as far as the confines of the Avars, the 
Bavarians, and the Franks of Austrasia and Burgundy. In 
the language of modern geography, it is now represented 
by the Terra Firma of the Venetian republic, Tyrol, the 
Milanese, Piedmont, the coast of Genoa, Mantua, Parma, 
and Modena, the grand duchy of Tuscany, and a large por- 
tion of the ecclesiastical state from Perugia to the Adriatic. 
The dukes, and at length the princes, of Beneventum, sur- 
vived the monarchy, and propagated the name of the Lom- 
bards. From Capua to Tarentum, they reigned near five 
hundred years over the greatest part of the present king- 
dom of Naples. 37 

In comparing the proportion of the victorious and the 
vanquished people, the change of language will afford the 
most probable inference. According to this standard, it 
will appear, that the Lombards of Italy, and the Visigoths 
of Spain, were less numerous than the Franks or Burgun- 
dians ; and the conquerors of Gaul must yield, in their turn, 
to the multitude of Saxons and Angles who almost eradi- 
cated the idioms of Britain. The modern Italian has been 
insensiblv formed by the mixture of nations: the awkward- 
ness of the Barbarians in the nice management of declen- 
sions and conjugations reduced them to the use of articles 
and auxiliary verbs ; and many new ideas have been ex- 
pressed by Teutonic appellations. Yet the principal stock 
of technical and familiar words is found to be of Latin deri- 
vation ; 88 and, if we were sufficiently conversant with the 

37 I have described the state of rtaly from the exce'lent Dissertation of Beretti. 
Ginnnone (Istoria Civile, torn. i. pp. 374-387) has followed the learned Camillo 
P llegrini in the geography of the kingdom of Naples. After the loss of the 
true Calabria, the vanity of the Greeks substituted that name instead of the 
more ignoble appellation of Bruttium ; and the change appears to have taken 
place before the time of Charlemagne (Eginard. p. 75\ 

ss Maffei (Verona Illustrata, part i. pp. 310-321) and Muratori (Antiehita 
Italiane, torn. u. Dissertazione xxxii- xxxiii. pp. 71-365) have a serted the native 



36 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

obsolete, the rustic, and the municipal dialects of ancient 
Italy, we should trace the origin of niauy terms which 
might, perhaps, be rejected by the classic purity of Rome. 
A numerous army constitutes but a small" nation, and the 
powers of the Lombards were soon diminished by the re- 
treat of twenty thousand Saxons, who scorned a dependent 
situation, and returned, after many bold and perilous adven- 
tures, to their native country. 39 The camp of Alboin was of 
formidable extent, but the extent of a camp would be easily 
circumscribed within the limits of a city ; and its martial 
inhabitants must be thinly scattered over the face of a large 
country. When Alboin descended from the Alps, he in- 
vested his nephew, the first duke of Friuli, with the com- 
mand of the province and the people : but the prudent 
Gisulf would have declined the dangerous office, unless he 
had been permitted to choose, among the nobles of the Lom- 
bards, a sufficient number of families 40 to form a perpetual 
colony of soldiers and subjects. In the progress of con- 
quest, the same option could not be granted to the dukes of 
Brescia or Bergamo, of Pavia or Turin, of Spoleto or Bene- 
ventum ; but each of these, and each of their colleagues, 
settled in his appointed district with a band of followers 
who resorted to his standard in war and his tribunal in 
peace. Their attachment was free and honorable : resign- 
ing the gifts and benefits which they had accepted, they 
might emigrate with their families into the jurisdiction of 
another duke ; but their absence from the kingdom was 
punished with death, as a crime of military desertion. 41 
The posterity of the first conquerors struck a deeper root 
into the soil, which, by every motive of interest and honor, 
they were bound to defend. A Lombard was born the 
soldier of his king and his duke ; and the civil assemblies 
of the nation displayed the banners, and assumed the ap- 
pellation, of a regular army. Of this army, the pav and 
the rewards were drawn from the conquered provinces ; and 
the distribution, which was not affected till after the death 
of Alboin, is disgraced by the foul marks of injustice and 

claims of the Italian idiom ; the former with enthusiasm, the latter with dis- 
cretion ; both with learning, ingenuity, and truth.* 

39 Paul, de Gest. Langobard.l. iii. c. 5, 6, 7. 

40 Paul, 1. ii. c 9. He calls these families or generations by the Teutonic name 
of Ftiras, which is likewise used in the Lombard laws. The humble deacon was 
not insensible of the nobility of his own race. See 1. iv. c- 39. 

41 Compare No. 3 and 177 of the Laws of Rotharis. 



* Compare the admirable sketch of the degeneracy of the Latin language and 
the formation of the Italian in Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. iii. pp. 317, 329.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. * 37 

rapine. Many of the most wealthy Italians were slain or 
banished ; the remainder were divided among the strangers, 
and a tributary obligation was imposed (under the name of 
hospitality) of paying to the Lombards a third part of the 
fruits of the earth. Within less than seventy years, this 
artificial system was abolished by a more simple and solid 
tenure. 42 Either the Roman landlord was expelled by his 
strong and insolent guest, or the annual payment, a third of 
the produce, was exchanged by a more equitable transaction 
for an adequate proportion of landed property. Under 
these foreign masters, the business of agriculture, in the cul- 
tivation of corn, vines, and olives, was exercised with de- 
generate skill and industry by the labor of the slaves and 
natives. But the occupations of a pastoral life were more 
pleasing to the idleness of the Barbarians. In the rich 
meadows of Venetia, they restored and improved the breed 
of horses, for which that province had once been illustri- 
ous ; 43 and the Italians beheld with astonishment a foreign 
race of oxen or buffaloes. 44 The depopulation of Lombardy, 
and the increase of forests, afforded an ample range for the 
pleasures of the chase. 45 That marvellous art which teaches 
the birds of the air to acknowledge the voice, and execute 
the commands, of their master, had been unknown to the 
ingenuity of the Greeks and Romans. 40 Scandinavia and 
Scythia produce the boldest and most tractable falcons : 47 

"Paul, 1 ii. c. 31, 32, I. iii. c. 16 The Laws of Rotharis, promulgated A.D. 
643, do not contain the smallest vestige of this payment of thirds ; but they pre- 
serve many curious circumstances of the state of Italy and the manners of the 
Lombards 

43 The studs of Dionysius of Syracuse, and his frequent victories in the 
Olympic games, had diffused among the Greeks the fame of the Venetian horses, 
but the breed was extinct in the time of Strabo (1. v. p. 325). Gisulf obtained 
from his uncle generosarum equarum greges. Paul, 1. ii. c. 9. The Lombards 
afterwards introduced caballi sylvatici— wild horses. Paul, 1. iv. c. 11. 

1,4 Tunc (A.D. 506) primum, 'bubaU in Italiam delati Italia? populis miracula 
fuere (Paul Warnefrid, 1. iv. c. 11). The buffaloes, whose native climate appears 
to be Africa and India, are unknown to Europe, except in Italy where they are 
numerous and useful. The ancients were ignorant of these animals, unless Aris- 
toMe(Hist. Anim. Mi. c. 1, p. 58, Paris, 1783) has described them as the wild oxen of 
Arachosia. Sej Buifon, Hist. Naturelle, torn. xi. and Supplement, torn. vi. Hist. 
Generate des Voyages, torn. i. pp. 7, 481, ii. 10~>, iii. 201, iv. 2.'54, 461, v. 193, vi. 491. 
viii. 400, x. 666. Pennant's Quadrupedes, p. 24. Uictionnaire d'H:st- Naturelie, 
par Valmont de Bomare, torn- ii. p. 74. Yet I must not conceal the suspicion that 
Paul, by a vulgar error, may have applied the name of bubalus to the aurochs, or 
wild bull, of ancient Germany. 

45 Consult the xxist Dissertation of Muratori. 

40 Their ignorance is proved by the silence even of those who professedly treat 
of the arts of hunting and the history of animals. Aristotle (Hist. Animal. 1. ix. 
c. ?,G, torn. i. p. 586, and the Notes of his last editor, M. Camus, torn. ii. p. 814), Pliny 
(Hist. Natur. I. x. c. 10), ^Elian (de Natur. Animal. 1. ii. c. 42), and perhaps 
Homer (Odyss. xxii. 302-306), describe with astonishment a tacit league and 
common chase between the hawks and the Thracian fowlers. 

47 Particularly the gerfaut, or gyrfalcon, of the size of :i small eagle. See the 
animated description of M. de Buifon, Hist. Naturelle, torn. xvi. p. 239, &c. 



49 



38 * THE DECLINE AND FALL 

they were tamed and educated by the roving inhabitants, 
always on horseback and in the field. This favorite amuse- 
ment of our ancestors was introduced by the Barbarians into 
the Roman provinces : and the laws of Italy esteem the 
sword and the hawk as of equal dignity and importance 
in the hands of a noble Lombard. 48 

So rapid was the infinence of climate and example, that 
the Lombards of the fourth generation surveyed with curi 
osity and affright the portraits of their savage forefathers. 
Their heads were shaven behind, but the shaggy locks hung 
over their eyes and mouth, and a long beard represented 
the name and character of the nation. Their di«ess con- 
sisted ot loose linen garments, after the fashion of the 
Anglo-Saxons, which were decorated, in their opinion, with 
broad stripes of variegated colors. The legs and feet were 
clothed in long hose, and open sandals; and even in the se- 
curity of peace a trusty sword was constantly girt to their 
side Yet this strange apparel, and horrid aspect, orten con- 
cealed a gentle and generous disposition ; and as soon as the 
rage of battle had subsided, the captives and subjects were 
sometimes surprised by the humanity of the victor. The vices 
of the Lombards were the effect of passion, of ignorance, of 
intoxication ; their virtues are the more laudable, as they 
were not affected by the hypocrisy of social manners, nor 
imposed by the rigid constraint of laws and education. I 
should not be apprehensive of deviating from my subject, 
if it were in my power to delineate the private life of the 
conquerors of Italy ; and I shall relate with pleasure the 
adventurous gallantry of Autharis, which breathes the true 
spirit of chivalry and romance. 50 After the loss of his prom- 

48 Script Rerun Italicarum, torn. i. part ii. p. 129. This is thexvith law of the 
emperor Lewis the Pious. His father Charlemagne had falconers in his house- 
hold as well as huntsmen (Memoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie, par M. de St. 
Palaye, torn, iii p 175). I observe in the laws of Rotharis a more early mer.tion of 
the art of hawking (No 322) ; and in Gaul, in the fifth century, it is celebrated 
by Sidonius Apollinaris, among the talents of Avitus (202-207).* 

49 The epitaph of Droctulf (Paul, 1. iii. c. 19) may be applied to many of his 
countrymen : — 

Terribilis visu facies. sed corda benignus 
Longaque robustopeetoie barba fuit. 

The portraits of the old Lombards might still be seen in the palace of Monza, 
twelve miles from Milan, which had been founded or restored by Queen Theu- 
delinda (1. iv. 22, 23). See Muratori, torn. i. dissei*taz. xxiii. p. 300. 

50 The story of Autharis and Theudelinda is related by Paul, 1. iii. c. 29, 34 ; 
and any fragment of Bavarian antiquity excites the indefatigable diligence of 
the count de Buat, Hist, des Peuples de f'Europe, torn. xi. pp. 595-635, torn. xii. 
pp. 1-53. 



* See Beckman, Hist, of Inventions, vol. i. p. 319.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 3d 

isecl bride, a Merovingian princess, he sought in marriage 
the daughter of the king of Bavaria 5 and Garibald ac- 
cepted the alliance of the Italian monarch. Impatient of 
the slow progress of negotiation, the ardent lover escaped 
from his palace, and visited the court of Bavaria in the 
train of his own embassy. At the public audience, the un- 
known stranger advanced to the throne, and informed Gar- 
ibald that the ambassador was indeed the miuister of state, 
b it that he alone was the friend of Autharis, who had. 
trusted him with the delicate commission of making a faith- 
ful report of the charms of his spouse. Theudelinda was 
summoned to undergo this important examination ; and, 
after a pause of silent rapture, he hailed her as the queen of 
Italy, and humbly requested that, according to the custom 
of the nation, she would present a cup of wine to the first 
of her new subjects. By the command of her father she 
obeyed 5 Autharis received the cup in his turn, and, in re- 
storing it to the princess, he secretly touched her hand, and 
drew his own finger over his face and lips. In the evening 
Theudelinda imparted to her nurse the indiscreet familiarity 
of the stranger, and was comforted by the assurance that 
such boldness could proceed only from the king her hus- 
band, who, by his beauty and courage, appeared worthy of 
her love. The ambassadors were dismissed ; no sooner did 
they reach the confines of Italy than Autharis, raising him- 
self on his horse, darted his battle-axe against a tree with 
incomparable strength and dexterity. " Such," said he to 
the astonished Bavarians, "such are the strokes of the king 
of the Lombards." On the approach of a French army, 
Garibald and his daughter took refuge in the dominions of 
their ally; and the marriage was consummated in the 
palace of Verona. At the end of one year, it was dis- 
solved by the death of Autharis; but the virtues of Theu- 
delinda 5 ' 1 had endeared her to the nation, and she was per- 
mitted to bestow, with her hand, the sceptre of the Italian 
kingdom. 

From this fact, as well as from similar events, 52 it is cer- 
tain that the Lombards possessed freedom to elect their sov- 
ereign, and sense to decline the frequent use of that dan- 
gerous privilege. The public revenue arose from the pro- 

C1 Giannone (Istoria Civile de Napoli, torn. i. p. 2G3) 1ms ju^tlv censured the 
impertinence of Boccaccio (Gio. iii. Novel. '2), wlio, without right, or truth, or 
pretence, has given the pious queen Theudelinda to the arms of a muleteer. 

52 Paul, 1- iii. c. 1*5. The first dissertfttions of IV1ur:itori, and 1he first volume 
of Giannone's history, may be consulted for the state of the kingdom of Italy. 



40 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

duce of land and the profits of justice. When the inde- 
pendent dukes agreed that Autharis should ascend the 
throne of his father, they endowed the regal office with a 
fair moiety of their respective domains. The proudest 
nobles aspired to the honors of servitude near the person of 
their prince ; he rewarded the fidelity of his vassals by the 
precarious gift ol : pensions and benefices ; and atoned for 
the injuries of war by the rich foundation of monasteries 
and churches. In peace a judge, a leader in war, he never 
usurped the powers of a sole and absolute legislator. The 
king of Italy convened the national assemblies in the pal- 
ace, or more probably in the fields, of Pavia; his great coun- 
cil was composed of the persons most eminent by their 
birth and dignities; but the validity, as well as the execu- 
tion, of their decrees depended on the approbation of the 
faithful people, the fortunate army of the Lombards. 
About fourscore years after the conquest of Italy, their tra- 
ditional customs were transcribed in Teutonic Latin, 53 and 
ratified by the consent of the prince and people ; some new 
regulations were introduced, more suitable to their present 
condition ; the example of Rotharis was imitated by the 
wisest of his successors; and the laws of the Lombards have 
been esteemed the least imperfect of the Barbaric codes. 54 
Secure by their courage in the possession of liberty, these 
rude and hasty legislators were incapable of balancing the 
powers of the constitution, or of discussing the nice theory 
of political government. Such crimes as threatened the 
life of the sovereign, or the safety of the state, were ad- 
judged worthy of death ; but their attention was principally 
confined to the defence of the person and property of the 
subject. According to the strange jurisprudence of the 
times, the guilt of blood might be redeemed by a fine; yet 
the high price of nine hundred pieces of gold declares a 
just sense of the value of a simple citizen. Less atrocious 
injuries, a wound, a fracture, a blow, an opprobrious word, 
were measured Vith scrupulous and almost ridiculous dili- 
gence; and the prudence of the legislator encouraged the 
ignoble practice of bartering honor and revenge for a pe- 
cuniary compensation. The ignorance of the Lombards in 
the state of Paganism or Christianity gave implicit credit 

53 The most accurate edition of. the Laws of the Lombards is to he found in 
the Scriptorcs Reruni Italicarum, torn. i. partii. pp. 1-1K1, collated from the most 
ancient MS^. and illustrated by the critical notes of Muratori. 

w Montesquieu, Esprit des Loix, 1. xxviii. c. 1. Les loix des nourjjuignonssont 
assez judicieuses ; celles de llotharis et des autreii princes Lombards le sont en- 
core plus. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 41 

to the malice and mischief of witchcraft ; but the judges of 
the seventeenth century might have been instructed and 
confounded by the wisdom of Rotharis, who derides the ab- 
surd superstition and protects the wretched victims of pop- 
ular or judicial cruelty/ 5 The same spirit of a legislator, 
superior to his age and country, may be ascribed to Luit- 
] rand, who condemns, while he tolerates, the impicus and 
inveterate abuse of duels, 56 observing, from his own experi- 
ence, that the juster cause had often been oppressed by 
successful violence. Whatever merit may be discovered in 
the laws of the Lombards, they are the genuine fruit of the 
reason of the Barbarians, who never admitted the bishops of 
Italy to a seat in their legislative councils. But the succession 
of their kings is marked with virtue and ability ; the troubled 
series of their annals is adorned with fair intervals of peace, 
order, and domestic happiness ; and the Italians enjoyed a 
milder and more equitable government, than any oi the 
other kingdoms which had been founded on the ruins -of the 
Western empire/' 7 

Amidst the arms of the Lombards, and under the des- 
potism of the Greeks, we again inquire into the fate of 
Rome, 58 which had reached, about the close of the sixth 
century, the lowest period of her depression. By the re- 
moval of the seat of empire, and the successive loss of the 
provinces, the sources of public and private opulence were 
exhausted ; the lofty tree, under whose shade the nations of 
the earth had reposed, was deprived of Us leaves and 
branches, and the sapless trunk was left to wither on the 
ground. The ministers of command, and the messengers of 
victory, no longer met on the Appian or Flaminian way; and 
the hostile approach of the Lombards was often felt, and con- 
tinually feared. The inhabitants of a potent and peaceful 
capital, who visit without an anxious thought the garden of 
the adjacent country, will faintly picture in their fancy the 

M See Leges Rotharis, No 379, p. 47. Striga is used as the name of a witch 
It is of the unrest classic origin (Horat. enod. v. 20. Petron. c. 1.°.4) : and from 
the words of Petronius (quse striges comederunt nervos tuos?) it may be inferred 
that the prejudice was of Italian rather than of Barbaric extraction. 

r ' c ' Quia inccrti sumus de judicio Dei, et multos amlivimus per pugnam sine 
jiusta causa suam causam perdere. Sed propter consuetudinem gentem nostram 
Langobardorum legem impiam vetare non possumus. See p. 74, No. 65, of the 
Laws of Luitprand, promulgated A.D. 724. 

r >> Read the history of Paul Warnefrid : particularly 1. iii. c. 16. Baronius re- 
jects the praise, which appears to contradict the invectives of Pope Gregory the 
Great ; but Muraton (Annali d' Italia, torn. v. p. 217) presumes to insinuate that 
the saint may have magnified the faults of Arians and enemies- 

• r ' 8 The passages of the hcmiliesof Gregory, which represent the miserable state 
of the citv and countrv, are transcribed in the Annals of Baronius, A.D. 590, Nc. 
16, A.D. 595, >io. 2, &c M &c. 



42 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

distress of the Romans; they shut or opened their cntes 
with a trembling hand, beheid from the walls the flames of 
their houses, and heard the lamentations of their brethren, 
who were coupled together like dogs, and dragged away into 
distant slavery beyond the sea and the mountains. Such 
incessant alarms must annihilate the pleasures and interrupt 
the labors of a rural life; and the Campagna of Rome was 
speedily reduced to the state of a dreary wilderness, in which 
the land is barren, the waters are impure, and the air is in- 
fectious. Curiosity and ambition no longer attracted the 
nations to the capital of the world : but, if chance or neces- 
sity directed the steps of a wandering stranger, he con- 
templated with horror the vacancy and solitude of the city, 
and might be tempted to ask, Where is the senate, and where 
are the people ? In a reason of excessive rains, the Tiber 
swelled above its banks, and rushed with irresistible violence 
into tli3 valleys of the seven hills. A pestilential disease 
arose-from the stagnation of the deluge, and so rapid was 
the contagion, that fourscore persons expired in an hour in 
the midst of a solemn procession, which implored the mercy 
of heaven. 59 A society in which marriage is encouraged 
and industry prevails soon repairs the accidental losses of 
pestilence and war: but, as the far greater part of the 
Romans was condemned to hopeless indigence and celibacy, 
the depopulation was constant and visible, and the gloomy 
enthusiasts might expect the approaching failure of the hu- 
man race. 60 Yet the number of citizens still exceeded the 
measure of subsistence ; their precarious food was supplied 
from the harvests of Sicily or Egypt ; and the frequent rep- 
etition of famine betrays the inattention of the emperor to 
a distant province. The edifices of Rome were exposed to 
the same ruin and decay : the mouldering fabrics were 
easily overthrown by inundations, tempests, and earth- 
quakes ; and the monks, who had occupied the most advan- 
tageous stations, exulted in their base triumph over the ruins 
of antiquity. 61 It is commonly believed, that Pope Gregory the 

59 The inundation and plague were reported by a deacon, whom his bishop* 
Gregory of Tours, had despatched to Rome for some relics. The ingenious mes- 
senger embellished his tale and the river with a great dragon and a train of little 
serpents (Greg. Turon. 1. x. c. 1). 

60 Gregory of Rome (Dialog. 1. ii. c. 15) relates a memorable prediction of St. 
Benedict. Roma a Gentilibus non exterminabitur sed tempestatibus, coruseis 
turbinibus ac terrae motfi in semetipsa marcescet. Such a prophecy melts into 
true history, and becomes ihe evidence of the fact after which it was invented. 

01 Quia in uno se ore cum Jo vis laudibus, Christi laudes non capiunt, et quam 
grave nefandumque sit episcopis canere quod nee laico religioso conveniat, ipse 
considera (1. ix. ep. 4). The writings of Gregory himself attest his innocence of 
any classic taste or literature. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 43 

First attacked the temples and mutilated the statues of the 
city ; that, by the command of the Barbarian, the Palatine 
library was reduced to ashes, and that the history of Livy 
was the peculiar mark of his absurd and mischievous fanat- 
icism. The writings of Gregory himself reveal his im- 
placable aversion to the monuments of classic genius ; and 
he points his severest censure against the profane learning 
of a bishop, who taught the art of grammar, studied the 
Latin poets, and pronounced with the same voice the 
praises of Jupiter and those of Christ. But the evidence of 
his destructive rage is doubtful and recent : the Temple of 
Peace, or the theatre of Marcellus, have been demolished by 
the slow operation of ages, and a formal proscription would 
have multiplied the copies of Virgil and Livy in the countries 
which were not subject to the ecclesiastical dictator. 62 

Like Thebes, or Babylon, or Carthage, the name of Rome 
might have been erased from the earth, if the city had not 
been animated by a vital principle, which again restored her 
to honor and dominion. A vague tradition was embraced, 
that two Jewish teachers, a tent-maker and a fisherman, had 
formerly been executed in the circus of Nero, and at the 
end of five hundred years, their genuine or fictitious relics 
were adored as the Palladium of Christian Rome. The 
pilgrims of the East and West resorted to the holy thresh- 
old ; but the shrines of the apostles were guarded by mira- 
cles and invisible terrors ; and it was not without fear that 
the pious Catholic approached the object of his worship. It 
was fatal to touch, it was dangerous to behold, the bodies of 
the saints ; and those who, from the purest motives, presumed 
to disturb the repose of the sanctuary, were affrighted by 
visions, or punished with sudden death. The unreasonable 
request of an empress, who wished to deprive the Romans 
of their sacred treasure, the head of St. Paul, was rejected 
with the deepest abhorrence ; and the pope asserted, most 
probably with truth, that a linen which had been sanctified 
in the neighborhood of his body, or the filings of his chain, 
which it was sometimes easy and sometimes impossible to 
obtain, possessed an equal degree of miraculous virtue. 



<::; 



C2 Bayle (Dictionnaire Critique, torn. ii. 598, 599), in a very good article of 
Grec/oire I., Las quoted, for the b\ iblings and statues, Platina in Gregorio I. ; for 
the Palatine library, John of Salisbury (de Nugis Curialium, 1. ii. c. 26) ; and for 
Livy, Anto linus of Florence : the oldest of the three lived in the xiith century. 

'■■'■ Gregor. 1. iii. opist. 24, edict. 12, &e. From the epistles of Gregory, and the 
viiith volume of the Annals of Baronias, the pious reader may collect the par- 
ticles of holy iron which were inserted in keys or crosses of gold, and distributed 
in Britain, Gaul, Spain, Africa, Constantinople, and Egypt. The pontifical smith 
who handled the lile must have understood the miracles which it was in his own 



44 THE DECLINE AM) FALL 

But the power as well as virtue of the apostles resided with 
living energy in the breast of their suceessors ; and the chair 
of St. Peter was filled under the reign of Maurice by the 
first and greatest of the name of Gregory. 04 His grandfather 
Felix had himself been pope, and as the bishops were already 
bound by the law of celibacy, his consecration must have 
been preceded by the- death of his wife. The parents of 
Gregory, Sylvia, and Gordian, were the noblest of the senate, 
and the most pious of the church of Rome; his female rela- 
tions were numbered among the saints and virgins; and his 
own figure, with those of his father and mother, were repre- 
sented near three hundred years in a family portrait, 05 which 
he offered to the monastery of St. Andrew. The design 
and coloring of this picture afford an honorable testimony, 
that the art of painting was cultivated by the Italians of the 
sixth century ; but the most abject ideas must be entertained 
of their taste and learning, since the epistles of Gregory, his 
sermons, and his dialogues, are the work of a man who was 
second in erudition to none of his contemporaries : G0 his birth 
and abilities had raised him to the office of prsefect of the 
cit}', and he enjoyed the merit of renouncing the pomps and 
vanities of this world. His ample patrimony was dedicated 
to the foundation of seven monasteries, 67 one in Rome, 68 and 

power to operate or withhold ; a circumstance which abates the superstition of 
Gregory at the expense of his veracity. 

M B( sides the epistles of Gregory himself, which are methodized by Dupin 
(Bibliotheque Eccles. torn. v. pp. 103-12G), we have three lives of the pope ; the 
two iirst written in the viiith and ixth centuries (de Triplici Vita St. Greg. Pref- 
ace to the ivth volume ot: the Benedictine edition), by the deacons Paul (pp. 1-18) 
and John (pp. 10— 188), and containing much original, though doubtful, evidence ; 
the third, a long and labored compilation by the Benedictine editors (pp. 199—305). 
The Annals of Baronius are a copious but partial history. His papal prejudices 
are tempered by the good sense of Fleury (Hist. Eccles. torn, viii.), and his chron- 
ology has been ,*2ctified by the criticism of Pagi and Muratori. 

™ John the deacon has described them like an eye-witness (1. iv. c. 83, 84) ; and 
ins description is illustrated by Angelo Rocca, a Roman antiquary (St. Greg. 
Opera, torn. iv. pp. 312— 32G), who observes that some mosaics of the popes of the 
viith century are still preserved in the old churches of Rome (pp. 321—323). The 
same walls which represented Gregory's family are now decorated with f Jie 
martyrdom of St. Andrew, the noble contest of Dominichino and Guido. 

go "pisciplinis vero liberalibus, hoc est giammatica, rhetorica, dialectics ita a 
puero est institutes, ut quamvis co tempore florerent adhuc Roma? siudia liter- 
arum, tamen nulli in urbe ipsa secundus putaretur. Paul. Diacon. in Vit. St. 
Gregor. c 2. 

,;; The Benedictines (Vit. Greg. 1. i. pp. 205-208) labor to reduce the monasteries 
of Gregory within the ride of their own order ; but, as the question is confessed 
to be doubtful, It is clear that these powerful monks are in the wrong. See 
Butler's Lives of the Saints, vol. iii. p. 145 ; a work of merit : the sense and learn- 
ing belong to the author — his prejudices are those of his profession. 

rs Monasteiium Gregorianum in ejusdem Beati Gregorii sedibos ad elivum 
Scauri prope ecclesiam SS. Johannis ct Pauli in honorem St. Andrea? (John, in 
Vit. Greg. 1. i. c. 6. Greg. 1. vii. epist. 13). This house and monastery were 
situate on the side of the Cadian hill which fronts the Palatine; they are now 
occupied by the Canmldoli : San Gregorio triumphs, and St. Andrew has retired 
to a small chapel. Nardini, Roma Antica, 1. iii. c. 6, p. 100. Descrizzione di 
Boma, torn. i. pp. 442—446. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 45 

six in Sicily; and it was the wish of Gregory that he might 
be unknown in this life, and glorious only in the next. Yet 
his devotion (and it might be sincere) pursued the path 
which would have been chosen by a crafty and ambitious 
statesman. The talents of Gregory, and the splendor which 
accompanied his retreat, rendered him dear and useful to 
the church; and implicit obedience has been always incul- 
cated as the first duty of a monk. As soon as he had 
received the character of deacon, Gregory was sent to reside 
at the Byzantine court, the nuncio or minister of the apos- 
tolic see; and he boldly assumed, in the name of St. Peter, 
a tone of independent dignity, which would have been 
criminal and dangerous in the most illustrious layman of the 
empire. He returned to Rome with a just increase of 
reputation, and, after a short exercise of the monastic virtues, 
he was dragged from the cloister to the papal throne, by the 
unanimous voice of the clergy, the senate, and the people. 
He alone resisted, or seemed to resist, his own elevation ; 
and his humble petition, that Maurice would be pleased to 
reject the choice cf the Romans, could only serve to exalt 
his character in the eyes of the emperor and the public. 
When the fatal mandate was proclaimed, Gregory solicited 
the aid of some friendly merchants to convey him in a basket 
beyond the gates of Rome, and modestly concealed himself 
some days among the woods and mountains, till his retreat 
was discovered, as it is said, by a celestial light. 

The pontificate of Gregory the Great, which lasted 
thirteen years, six months, and ten days, is one of the most 
edifying periods of the history of the church. His virtues, 
and even his faults, a singular mixture of simplicity and 
cunning, of pride and humility, of sense and superstition, 
were happily suited to his station and to the temper of the 
times. In his rival, the patriarch of Constantinople, he con- 
demned the anti-Christian title of universal bishop, which 
the successor of St. Peter was too haughty to concede, and 
too feeble to assume; and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of 
Gregory w T as confined to the triple character of Bishop of 
Rome, Primate of Italy, and Apostle of the West. He 
frequently ascended the pulpit, and kindled, by his rude, 
though pathetic, eloquence, the congenial passions of his 
audience : the language of the Jewish prophets was inter- 
preted and applied; and the minds of a people, depressed 
by their present calamities, were directed to the hopes and 
fears of the invisible world. His precepts and example 



4G Till-: DECLINE AND FALL 

defined the model of the Roman liturgy; 09 the distribution 
of the parishes, the calendar of festivals, the order of pro- 
cessions, the service of the priests and deacons, the variety 
and change of sacerdotal garments. Till the last days of 
his life, he officiated in the canon of the mass, which con- 
tinued above three hours: the Gregorian chant 70 has pre- 
served the vocal and instrumental music of the theatre, and 
the rough voices of the Barbarians attempted to imitate the 
melody of the Roman school. 71 Experience had shown him 
the efficacy of these solemn and pompous rites, to soothe the 
distress, to confirm the faith, to mitigate the fierceness, and 
to dispel the dark enthusiasm of the vulgar, and he readily 
forgave their tendency to promote the reign of priesthood 
and superstition. The bishops of Italy and the adjacent 
islands acknowledged the Roman pontiff as their special 
metropolitan. Even the existence, the union, or the trans- 
lation of episcopal seats was decided by his absolute discre- 
tion : and his successful inroads into the provinces of Greece, 
of Spain, and of Gaul, might countenance the more lofty 
pretensions of succeeding popes. He interposed to prevent 
the abuses of popular elections ; his jealous care maintained 
the purity of faith and discipline ; and the apostolic shepherd 
assiduously watched over the faith and discipline of the 
subordinate pastors. Under his reign, the Arians of Italy 
and Spain were reconciled to the Catholic church, and the 
conquest of Britain reflects less glory on the name of Caesar, 
than on that of Gregory the First. Instead of six legions, 
forty monks were embarked for that distant island, and the 
pontiff lamented the austere duties which forbade him to 
partake the perils of their spiritual warfare. In less than 
two years, lie could announce to the archbishop of Alex- 
andria, that they had baptized the king of Kent with ten 

" 9 The Lord's Prayer consists of half a dozen lines ; the Sacramentarius and 
Antiphonarius of Gregory till 880 folio pages (torn. iii. p. i. pp- 1—880); yet these 
only constitute a part of the Ordo liomanus, which Mabillon has illustrated and 
Fleury has abridged (Hist. Eccles. torn. viii. pp. 139-152). 

7,1 1 learn from the Abbe Dubos (Reflexions sur la Poesie et la Peinture, torn. 
iii. pp. 174, 175), that the simplicity of the Ambrosian chant was confined to four 
modes, while the more perfect harmony of the Gregorian comprised the eight 
modes or fifteen chords of the ancient music. He observes (p. 332) that the con- 
noisseurs admire the preface and many passages of the Gregorian office. 

71 John the deacon (in Vit. Greg. L ii. c. 7) expresses the early contempt of 
the, Italians for tramontane singing. Alpina scilicet corpora vocum suarum ton- 
itruis altisone perstrepentia. suscept;e modulationis dulcedinem proprie non 
resultant: ouia bibuli gutturis barbara feritas dum inflexionibus el renercus r 
sionibus mitem nititur ederc cantilenam, naturali quodam fragore, quasi plaus- 
tra per gradus confuse sonantia. rigidas voces jactat, &c. In the time of Charle- 
magne, the Franks, though with some reluctance, admitted the justice of the 
reproach. Muratori, Dissert, xxv. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 47 

thousand of his Anglo-Saxons, and that the Roman mission- 
aries, like those of the primitive church, were armed only 
with spiritual and supernatural powers. The credulity or 
the prudence of Gregory was always disposed to confirm the 
truths of religion by the evidence of ghosts, miracles, and 
resurrections ; 72 and posterity has paid to his memory the 
same tribute which he freely granted to the virtue of his 
own or the preceding generation. The celestial honors have 
been liberally bestowed by the authority of the popes, but 
Gregory is the last of their own order whom they have 
presumed to inscribe in the calendar of saints. 

Their temporal power msy-sibly arose from the calami- 
lies of the times: and the Ro.n 1*1 bishops, who have deluged 
Europe and Asia with blood, were compelled to reign as the 
ministers of charity and peace. I. The church of Rome, as 
it has been formerly observed, was endowed with ample 
possessions in Italy, Sicily, and the more distant provinces ; 
and her agents, who were commonly sub-deacons, had ac- 
quired a civil, and even criminal, jurisdiction over their 
tenants and husbandmen. The successor of St. Peter ad- 
ministered his patrimony with the temper of a vigilant and 
moderate landlord ; 73 and the epistles of Gregory are filled 
with salutary instructions to abstain from doubtful or vex- 
atious lawsuits ; to preserve the integrity of weights and 
measures ; to grant every reasonable delay ; and to reduce 
the capitation of the slaves of the glebe, who purchased the 
right of marriage by the payment of an arbitrary fine. 74 
The rent or the produce of these estates was transported to 
the mouth of the Tiber, at the risk and expense of the 
pope : in the use of wealth he acted like a faithful steward of 
the church and the poor, and liberally applied to their wants 
the inexhaustible resources of abstinence and order. The 
voluminous account of his receipts and disbursements was 
kept above three hundred years in theLateran, as the model 

72 A French critic (Petrus Gussanvillus, Opera, torn. ii. pp. 105-112) lias vindi- 
cated the right of Gregorv to the entire nonsense of the Dialogues. Dupin (torn. 
v. p. 138) does not think that any one will vouch for the truth of all these mira- 
cles : I should like to know how many of them he helieved himself. 

ri Baronius is unwilling to expatiate on the care of the patrimonies, lest he 
should betray that they consisted not of kinr/dnms, but farms. The French 
writers, the Benedictine editors (torn. iv. 1. iii. p. 272, &c), a; d Fleury (torn. yiii. 
p. 29, &c-), are not afraid of entering into these humble, though useful, details ; 
and the humanity of Fleury dwells on the social virtues of Gregory. 

T * I much suspect that this pecuniary tine on the marriages of villians pro- 
duced the famous, and often fabulous right, tie cuissage. de maravctfe, &c. With 
the consent of her husband, a handsome bride might commute the payment in 
the arms of a young landlord, and the mutual favor might afford a precedent oi 
local rather than legal tyranny. 



43 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Christian economy. On the four great festivals, he 
divided their quarterly allowance to the clergy, to his do- 
mestics, to the monasteries, the churches, the places of 
burial, the almshouses, and the hospitals of Rome, and the 
rest of the diocese. On the first day of every month, he 
distributed to the poor, according to the season, their stated 
portion of corn, wine, cheese, vegetables, oil, fish, fresh 
provisions, clothes, and money ; and his treasurts were con- 
tinually summoned to satisfy, in his name, the extraordinary 
demands of indigence and merit. The instant distress of 
the sick and helpless, of strangers and pilgrims, was relieved 
by the bounty of each day, and of every hour ; nor would 
the pontiff indulge himself in a frugal repast, till he had 
sent the dishes from his own table to seme objects deserv- 
ing of his compassion. The misery of the times had re- 
duced the nobles and matrons of Rcme to accept, without 
a blush, the benevolence of the church : three thousand vir- 
gins received their food and raiment from the hand of their 
benefactor; and many bishops of Italy .escaped frcm the 
Barbarians to the hospitable threshold of the Vatican. 
Gregory might justly be styled the Father of his Country; 
and such was the extreme sensibility of his conscience, that, 
for the death of a beggar who had perished in the streets, 
lie interdicted himself during several days frcm the exercise 
of sacerdotal functions. II. The misfortunes of Rome in- 
volved the apostolical pastor in the business of peace and 
war ; and it might be doubtful to himself, whether piety or 
ambition prompted him to supply the place of his absent 
sovereign. Gregory awakened the emperor from a long 
slumber; exposed the guilt or incapacity of the exarch and 
his inferior ministers ; complained that the veterans were 
withdrawn from Rome for the defence of Spoleto ; encour- 
aged the Italians to guard their cities and altars ; and con- 
descended, in the crisis of danger, to name the tribunes, and 
to direct the operations, of the provincial troops. But the 
martial spirit of the pope was < becked by the scruples of 
humanity and religion : the imposition of tribute, though it 
was employed in the Italian war, he freely condemned as 
odious and oppressive ; whilst he protected, against the Im- 
perial edicts, the pious cowardice of the soldiers who de- 
serted a military for a monastic life. If we may credit his 
own declarations, it would have been easy for Gregory to 
exterminate the Lombards by their domestic factions, with- 
out leaving a king, a duke, or a count, to save that unfortu- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 49 

nate nation from the vengeance of their foes. As a 
Christian bishop, he preferred the salutary offices of peace ; 
his mediation appeased the tumult of arms : but lie was too 
conscious of the arts of the Greeks, and the passions of the 
Lombards, to engage his sacred promise for the observance 
of the truce. Disappointed in the hope of a general and 
lasting treaty, he presumed to save his country without the 
consent of the emperor or the exarch. The sword of the 
enemy was suspended over Rome ; it was averted by the 
mild eloquence and seasonable gifts of the pontiff, who 
commanded the respect of heretics and Barbarians. The 
merits of Gregory were treated by the Byzantine court with 
reproach and insult ; but in the attachment of a grateful 
people, he found the purest reward of a citizen, and the 
best right of a sovereign. 75 

? 5 The temporal reign of Gregory I. is ably exposed by Sigonius in tbe first 
book, de Regno Italian. See bis works, torn. ii. pp. 44-75. 

Vol. IV.— 4 



50 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

REVOLUTIONS OP PERSIA AFTER THE DEATH OF CHOSROES 
OR NUSHIRVAN. HIS SON HORMOUZ, A TYRANT, IS DE- 
POSED. USURPATION OF BAHRAM. FLIGHT AND RES- 
TORATION OF CHOSROES II. HIS GRATITUDE TO THE 

ROMANS. THE CHAGAN OF THE AVARS. REVOLT OF THE 

ARMY AGAINST MAURICE. HIS DEATH. TYRANNY OF 

PHOCAS. ELEVATION OF HERACLIUS. THE PERSIAN 

WAR. CHOSROES SUBDUES SYRIA, EGYPT, AND ASIA 

MINOR. SIEGE OF CONSTANTINOPLE BY THE PERSIANS 

AND AVARS. PERSIAN EXPEDITIONS. VICTORIES AND 

TRIUMPH OF HERACLIUS. 

The conflict of Rome and Persia was prolonged from 
the death of Crassus to the reign of Heraclius. An experi- 
ence of seven hundred years might convince the rival na- 
tions of the impossibility of maintaining their conquests 
beyond the fatal limits of the Tigris and Euphrates. Yet 
the emulation of Trajan and Julian was awakened by the 
trophies of Alexander, and the sovereigns of Persia in- 
dulged the ambitious hope of restoring the empire of Cy- 
rus. 1 Such extraordinary efforts of power and courage will 
always command the attention of posterity ; but the events 
by which the fate of nations is not materially changed, 
leave a faint impression on the page of history, and the 
patience of the reader would be exhausted by the repetition 
of the same hostilities, undertaken without cause, prose- 
cuted without glory, and terminated without effect. The 
arts of negotiation, unknown to the simple greatness of the 
senate and the Caesars, were assiduously cultivated by the 
Byzantine princes; and the memorials of their perpetual 
embassies ' J repeat, with the same uniform prolixity, the 
language of falsehood and declamation, the insolence of the 

1 Missis qui reproscerent veteres Persarum ac Macedonian terminos, 

seine invasurum possessa Cyro et post Alexnndro, per vaniloqnentiam ac minas 
jaciebat. Tacit. Annal. vi. 31. Such was the language of the Arsacides: I have 
repeatedly marked the lofty claims of the Sassantans. 

2 See the embassies of Menander, extracted and preserved in the fifth cen- 
tury by the order of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. 



OF THE EOMAK EMPIRE. 51 

Barbarians, and the servile temper of the tributary Greeks. 
Lamenting the barren superfluity of materials, I have 
studied to eompress the narrative of these uninteresting 
transactions : but the just Nushirvan is still applauded as 
the model of Oriental kings, and the ambition of his grand- 
son Chosroes prepared the revolution of the East, which 
was speedily accomplished by the arms and the religion of 
the successors of Mahomet. 

In the useless altercations, that precede and justify the 
quarrels of princes, the Greeks and the Barbarians accused 
each other of violating the peace which had been concluded 
between the two empires about four years before the death 
of Justinian. The sovereign of Persia and India aspired to 
reduce under his obedience the province of Yemen or Ara- 
bia 3 Felix ; the distant land of myrrh and frankincense, 
which had escaped, rather than opposed, the conquerors of 
the East. After the defeat of Abrahah under the walls of 
Mecca, the discord of his sons and brothers gave an easy 
entrance to the Persians ; they chased the strangers of Abys- 
sinia beyond the Red Sea ; and a native prince of the an- 
cient Homerites was restored to the throne as the vassal or 
viceroy of the great Nushirvan. 4 But the nephew of Jus- 
tinian declared his resolution to avenge the injuries of his 
Christian ally the prince of Abyssinia, as they suggested a 
decent pretence to discontinue the annual tribute, which was 

s The general independence of the Arahs, which cannot he admitted without 
manv limitations, is hlindly asserted in a separate dissertation of the authors of 
the Universal History, vol. xx- pp. 196--250. A perpetual miracle is supposed to 
have guarded the prophecy in favor of the posterity of Ishmael ; and these 
learned bigots are not afraid to risk the truth of Christianity on this frail and 
slippery foundation.* 

* D'Herbelot, Bihlioth. Orient, p. 477. Pocock, Specimen Hist. Arabum, pp. 
64,05. Father Pagi (Critica, torn. ii. p. 646) has proved that, after ten years' 
peace, the Persian war, which continued twenty years, was renewed A. D. 571. 
Mahomet was born A. P. 569, in the year of the elephant, or the defeat of Abra- 
hah (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn- i. pp. 89, 90, 98); and this account allows 
two years for the conquest of Yemen. t 



* Tt certainly appears difficult to extract a prediction of the perpetual inde- 
pendence of the Arabs from the text in Genesis, which would have received an 
ample fulfilment during centuries of uninvaded freedom. But the disputants 
appear to forget the inseparable connection in the prediction between the wild, 
the Bedoweeh habits of the Ismaelites, with their national independence The 
stationary and civilized descendant of Ismael forfeited, as it were, his birth- 
right, and ceasetl to be a genuine son of the " wild man." The phrase, " dwell- 
ing in the presence of his brethren," is interpreted by Rosenmuller (in loc ) and 
others, according to the Hebrew geography, " to the East" of his brethren, the 
legitimate race of Abraham. — M. 

I Abrahah, according to some accounts, was succeeded by his son Taksoum, 
who reigned seventeen years ; his brother Mascouh, who was slain in battle 
against the Persians, twelve. But this chronology is irreconcilable with the 
Arabian conquests of Nushirvan the Great. Either Seif, or his son Maadi Karb, 
was the native prince placed on the throne l>y the Persians. St. Martin vol. x. 
p. 78. See likewise JoUannsen, Hist. Yemanae— M. 



52 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

poorly disguised by the name of pension. The churches of 

Pcrsarmenia were oppressed by the intolerant spirit of the 
Magi ; * they secretly invoked the protector of the Chris- 
tians, and, after the pious murder of their satraps, the rebels 
were avowed and supported as the brethren and subjects of 
the Roman emperor. The complaints of Nushirvan were dis- 
regarded by the Byzantine court ; Justin yielded to the im- 
portunities of the Turks, who offered an alliance against 
the common enemy ; and the Persian monarchy was threat- 
ened at the same instant by the united forces of Europe, of 
./Ethiopia, and of Seythia. At the age of fourscore the sov- 
ereign of the East would perhaps have chosen the peaceful 
enjoyment of his glory and greatness, but as soon as war 
became inevitable, he took the field with the alacrity of 
youth, whilst the aggressor trembled in the palace of Con- 
stantinople. Nushirvan, or Chosroes, conducted in person 
the siege of Dara ; and although that important fortress had 
been left destitute of troops and magazines, the valor of the 
inhabitants resisted above five months the archers, the ele- 
phants, and the military engines of the Great King. In the 
mean while his general Adarman advanced from Babylon, 
traversed the desert, passed the Euphrates, insulted the sub- 
urbs of Antioch, reduced to ashes the city of Apamea, and laid 
the spoils of Syria at the feet of his master, whose persever- 
ance in the midst of winter at length subverted the bulwark 
of the East. But these losses, which astonished the prov- 
inces and the court, produced a salutary effect in the re- 
pentance and abdication of the emperor Justin ; a new spirit 
arose in the Byzantine councils ; and a truce of three years 
was obtained by the prudence of Tiberius. That seasona- 
ble interval was employed in the preparations of war : and 

* Persarmeiia was long maintained in peace by the tolerant administration 
of Mejej. prince of the Gnounians. On his death he was succeeded by a perse- 
cutor, a Persian, named Ten-Schahpour, who attempted to propagate Zoroastri- 
anism by violence. Nushirvan, on an appeal to the throne by the Armenian 
clergy, replaced Ten-Schahpour, in 522, by Veschnas-Vahram. The new marz- 
ban, or governor, was instructed to repress the bigoted Magi in their persecutions 
ot the Armenians, but the Persian converts to Christianity were still exposed to 
cruel sufferings. The most distinguished of them, lzdbouzid. was crucified at 
Dovin in the presence of a vast multitude. The fame of this martyr spread to 
the West. Menander, the historian, not only, as appeals by a fragment published 
by Mai, rejated this event in his history, but, acccording to M. St- Martin, wrote 
a tragedy on the subject This, however, is an unwarrantable inference from 
the phrase Tpaywbiav fle/u^o?, which merely means that he related the tragic 
event in his history. An epigram on the same subject, preserved in the An tin 1- 
ogy, Jacob's Anth. Palat. i. 27, belongs to the historian. Yet Armenia remained 
in peace under the government of Veschnas-Vahram and his successor Varaz- 
d&t. The tyranny of his successor Surena led to the insurrection under Vartan, 
tiie Mamigonian, who revenged the death of his brother on the marzban Suiena, 
surprised Dovin, and put to the sword the governor, the soldiers, and the 
Magians. Prom St. Martin, vol. x. pp. 7D— 8L>.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 53 

the voice of rumor proclaimed to the world, that from the 
distant countries of the Alps and the Rhine, from Scythia, 
Massia, Pannonia, Illyricum, and Isauria, the strength of the 
Imperial cavalry was reenforeed with one hundred and fifty 
thousand soldiers. Yet the king of Persia, without fear, or 
without faith, resolved to prevent the attack of the enemy; 
again passed the Euphrates, and dismissing the ambassadors 
of Tiberius, arrogantly commanded them to await his ar- 
rival at Caesarea, the metropolis of the Cappadocian prov- 
inces. The two armies encountered each other in the battle 
of Melitene : * the Barbarians, who darkened the air with a 
cloud of arrows, prolonged their line, and extended their 
wings across the plain ; while the Romans, in deep and solid 
bodies, expected to prevail in closer action, by the weight 
of their swords and lances. A Scythian chief, who com- 
manded their right wing, suddenly turned the flank of the 
enemy, attacked their rear-guard in the presence of Chos- 
roes, penetrated to the midst of the camp, pillaged the royal 
tent, profaned the eternal fire, loaded a train of camels with 
the spoils of Asia, cut his way through the Persian host, and 
returned with songs of victory to his friends, who had con- 
sumed the day in single combats, or ineffectual skirmishes. 
The darkness of the night, and the separation of the Ro- 
mans, afforded the Persian monarch an opportunity of re- 
venge ; and one of their camps Avas swept away by a rapid 
and impetuous assault. But the review of his loss, and the 
consciousness of his danger, determined Chosroes to a 
speedy retreat ; he burnt, in his passage, the vacant town of 
Melitene ; and, without consulting the safety of his troops, 
boldly swam the Euphrates on the back of an elephant. 
After this unsuccessful campaign, the want of magazines, 
and perhaps some inroad of the Turks, obliged him to dis- 
band or divide his forces; the Romans were left masters of 
the field, and their general Justinian, advancing to the re- 
lief of the Persarmenian rebels, erected his standard on the 
banks of the Araxes. The great Pompey had formerly 
halted within three days' march of the Caspian ; 5 that inland 
sea was explored, for the first time, by a hostile fleet, and 

•'■ He had vanquished the Albanians, who brought into the field 12,000 horse 
and C0,0f)0 foot ; but he dreaded the multitude of venomous reptiles, whose ex- 
istence may admit of some doubt, as well as that of the neighboring Amazons. 
Plutarch, in Pompeio, torn. ii. pp. 1165, 1166. 

,; In the history of the world 1 can only perceive two navies on the Caspian : 
1. Of tho Macedonians, when Patrocles, the admiral of the kings of Syria, Se- 



* Malatihah. It was in the Lesser Armenia.— M. 



64 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

seventy thousand captives were transplanted from Ilyrennia 
to the Isle of Cyprus. On the return of spring, Justinian 
descended into the fertile plains of Assyria ; the lames of 
war approached the residence of Nushirvan ; the indignant 
monarch sunk into the grave ; and his last edict restrained 
his successors from exposing their person in battle against 
the Romans.* Yet the memory of this transient affront 
was lost in the glories of a long reign ; and his formidable 
enemies, after indulging their dream of conquest, again so- 
licited a short respite from the calamities of war. 7 

The throne of Chosroes Nushirvan was filled by Hor- 
mouz, or Hormisdas, the eldest or the most favored of his 
sons. With the kingdoms of Persia and India, he inherited 
the reputation and example of his father, the service, in 
every rank, of his wise and valiant officers, and a general 
system of administration, harmonized by time and political 
wisdom to promote the happiness of the prince and people. 
But the royal youth enjoyed a still more valuable blessing, 
the friendship of a sage who had presided over his educa- 
tion, and who always preferred the honor to the interest of 
his pupil, his interest to his inclination. In a dispute with 
the Greek and Indian philosophers, Buzurg 8 had once main- 
tained, that the most grievous misfortune of life is old age 
without the remembrance of virtue ; and our candor will 
presume that the same principle compelled him, during 
three years, to direct the councils of the Persian empire. 
His zeal was rewarded by the gratitude and docility of Hor- 
mouz, who acknowledged himself more indebted to his pre- 
ceptor than to his parent ; but when age and labor had 
impaired the strength, and perhaps the faculties, of this 

leueus and Antiochus, descended most probably the River Oxus, from the con- 
fines of India (Plin. Hist. Natur. vi. 21). 2. Of the Russians, when Teter the 
First conducted a fleet and army from the neighborhood of Moscow to the coast 
of Persia (Bell's Travels, vol. ii. pp. 325-352). He justly observes, that such mar- 
tial pomp had never been displayed on the Volga. 

7 For these Persian wars and treaties, see Menander, in Excerpt. Legat. pp. 
113-125. Theophanes Byzant. apud Photium, cod. lxiv. pp.77, 80, 81. Evag- 
rius, 1. v. c. 7—15. Theophylact. 1. iii. c. 0-lf>. Agathias, 1. iv. p. 140. 

8 Buzurg Mihir may be consider* d, in his character and station, as the Seneca 
of the East ; but his virtues, and perhaps his faults, are less known than those 
of the Roman, who appears to have been much more loquacious. The Persian 
sage was the person who imported from India the game of chess and the fables 
of Pilpay. Such has been the fame of his wisdom and virtues, that the Christians 
claim him as a believer in the gospel ; and the Mahometans revere Buzurg as a 
premature Mussulman. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque de Orientale, p. 218. 



* This circumstance rests on the statements of Fvagrius and Theophylact 
Simocatta. They are not of sufficient authority to establish a fact so improb- 
able. St. Martin, vol. x. p. 140.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 55 

prudent counsellor, he retired from court, and abandoned 
the youthful monarch to his own passions and those of his 
favorites. By the fatal vicissitude of human affairs, the 
same scenes were renewed at Ctesiphon, which had been 
exhibited at Rome after the death of Marcus Antoninus. 
The ministers of flattery and corruption, who had been ban- 
ished by the father, were recalled and cherished by the son ; 
the disgrace and exile of the friends of Nushirvan estab- 
lished their tyranny; and virtue was driven by degrees 
from the mind of Hormouz, from his palace, and from the 
government of the state. The faithful agents, the eyes and 
ears of the king, informed him of the progress of disorder, 
that the provincial governors flew to their prey with the 
fierceness of lions and eagles, and that their rapine and in- 
justice would teach the most loyal of his subjects to abhor 
the name and authority of their sovereign. The sincerity 
of this advice was punished with death; the murmurs of 
the cities were despised, their tumults were quelled by mil- 
itary execution ; the intermediate powers between the 
throne and the people were abolished ; and the childish 
vanity of Hormouz, who affected the daily use of the tiara, 
was fond of declaring, that he alone would be the judge as 
well as the master of his kingdom. In every word, and in 
every action, the son of Nushirvan degenerated from the 
virtues of his father. His avarice defrauded the troops ; his 
jealous caprice degraded the satraps ; the palace, the tri- 
bunals, the waters of the Tigris, were stained with the blood 
of the innocent, and the tyrant exulted in the sufferings and 
execution of thirteen thousand victims. As the excuse of 
his cruelty, he sometimes condescended to observe, that the 
fears of the Persians would be productive of hatred, and 
that their hatred must terminate in rebellion; but he forgot 
that his own guilt and folly had inspired the sentiments 
which he deplored, and prepared the event which he so 
justly apprehended. Exasperated by long and hopeless op- 
pression, the provinces of Babylon, Susa, and Carmania, 
erected the standard of revolt ; and the princes of Arabia, 
India, and Scythia, refused the customary tribute to the un- 
worthy successor of Nushirvan. The arms of the Romans, 
in slow sieges and frequent inroads, afflicted the frontiers 
of Mesopotamia and Assyria ; one of their generals pro- 
fessed himself the disciple of Scipio ; and the soldiers were 
animated by a miraculous image of Christ, whose mild as- 
pect should never have been displayed in the front of bat- 



56 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tie. At the same time, the eastern provinces of Persia 
were invaded by the great khan, who passed the Oxns at 
the head of three or four hundred thousand Turks. The 
imprudent Hormouz accepted their perfidious and formida- 
ble aid ; the cities of Khorassan or Bactriana were com- 
manded to open their gates ; the march of the Barbarians 
towards the mountains of Hyrcania "revealed the corre- 
spondence of the Turkish and Roman arms ; and their 
union must have subverted the throne of the house of 
Sassan. 

Persia had been lost by a king ; it was saved by a hero. 
After his revolt, Varanes or Bahrain is stigmatized by the 
son of Hormouz as an ungrateful slave ; the proud and am- 
biguous reproach of despotism, since he was truly descended 
from the ancient princes of Rei, 10 one of the seven families 
whose splendid, as well as substantial, prerogatives exalted 
them above the heads of the Persian nobility. 11 At the 
siege of Dara, the valor of Bahram was signalized under the 
eyes of Nushirvan, and both the father and son successively 
promoted him to the command of armies, the government 
of Media, and the superintendence of the palace. The pop- 
ular prediction which marked him as the deliverer of Persia, 
might be inspired by his past victories and extraordinary 
figure: the epithet Giubin* is expressive of the quality of 
dry icood : he had the strength ; n I stature of a giant ; and 
his savage countenance was fancifully compared to that of a 
wild cat. While the nation trembled, while Hormouz dis. 

n See the imitation of Seipio in Theophylact, 1 . i.e. 11 ; the image of Christ. 
1. ii. c. 3. Hereafter I shall speak more amply of the Christian images— \ had 
almost said idols. This if I am not mistaken, is the oldest dxeioonoiyTos of di- 
vine manufacture ; hut in the next thousand years, many others issued from the 
same workshop. 

10 Ragae, or Rei, is mentioned in the Apochryphal hook of Tobit as already 
flourishing, TOOyears before Christ, under the Assyrian empire. Under the foreign 
names of Europus and Arsacia, this city, 500 stadia to the south of the Caspian 
gates, was successively embellished by the Macedonians and Parthians (Strabo, 
1. xi p. 796). Its grandeur and populonsness in the ixth century are exagger- 
ated beyond the bounds of credibility ; but Rei has been since ruined by wars 
and the unwholesomeness of the air. Chardin, Voyage en Perse, torn. i. pp. 279, 
280. IVHerbelot. Biblioth. Oriental, p. 714. 

11 Theophylact, 1. iii. c. 18. The story of the seven Persians is told in the 
third book of Herodotus; and their noble descendants are often mentioned, es- 
pecially in the fragments of Ctesias. Yet the independence of Otanes (Herodot. 
*. iii. c. 83. 84) is bostile to the spirit of despotism, and it may not seem probable 
fcbat the seven families could survive the revolutions of eleven hundred years. 
They might, however, be represented by the seven ministers (Brisson, de Recmo 
Persico. 1. i. p. 190) ; and some Persian nobles, like the kings of Pontus (Polvb. 
1. v. p. 540) and Cappadocia (Diodor. Sicul. 1. xxxi. torn. ii. p. 517), might claim 
their descent from the bold companions of Darius. 



* He is generally called Baharam Choubeen, Baharam, the stick-like, probably 
from his appearance. Malcolm, vol. i. p. 120.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 57 

guised his terror by the name of suspicion, and his servants 
concealed their disloyalty under the mask of fear, Bah ram 
alone displayed his undaunted courage and apparent fidelity : 
and as soon as he found that no more than twelve thousand 
soldiers would follow him against the enemy, he prudently 
declared, that to this fatal number Heaven had reserved the 
honors of the triumph.* The steep and narrow descent of 
the Pule Rudbar, 12 or Hyrcanian rock, is the only pass 
through which an army can penetrate into the territory of 
Kei and the plains of Media. From the commanding 
heights, a band of resolute men might overwhelm with stones 
and darts the myriads of the Turkish host: their emperor 
and his son were transpierced with arrows ; and the fugitives 
were left, without counsel or provisions., to the revenge of 
an injured people. The patriotism, of the Persian general 
was stimulated by his affection for the city of his forefathers; 
in the hour of victory, every peasant became a soldier, and 
every soldier a hero ; and their ardor was kindled by the 
gorgeous spectacle of beds, and thrones, and tables of massy 
gold, the spoils of Asia, and the luxury of the hostile camp. 
A prince of a less malignant temper could not easily have 
forgiven his benefactor; and the secret hatred of Hormouz 
was envenomed by a malicious report, that Bahrain had 
privately retained the most precious fruits oi his Turkish 
victory. But the approach of a Roman army on the side of 
the Araxes compelled the implacable tyrant to smile and to 
applaud ; and the toils of Bahrain were rewarded with the 
permission of encountering a new enemy, by their skill and 
discipline more formidable than a Scythian multitude. 
Elated by his recent success, he despatched a herald with a 
bold defiance to the camp of the Romans, requesting them 
to fix a day of battle, and to choose whether they would 
pass the river themselves, or allow a free passage to the arms 
of the great king. The lieutenant of the emperor Maurice 
preferred the safer alternative; and this local circumstance, 
which would have enhanced the victory of the Persians, ren. 
dered their defeat more bloody and their escape more difti- 

" See an accurate description of this mountain by Olearius (Voyage en Perse, 
pp. 997, 998), who ascended it with much difficulty and danger in his return from 
Ispahan to the Caspian Sea. + 



* The Persian historians say, that Hormouz entreated his general to increase 
his numbers ; but Baharnm replied, that experience had taught him that it was 
the quality, not the numbers of soldiers, which gave success. * * " No man 
in his army was under forty years, and none above fifty. Malcolm, vol. i. p. Ul. 
— M. 



58 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

cult. But tbe loss of his subjects, and the danger of his 
kingdom, were overbalanced in the mind of Ilormouz by the 
disgrace of his personal enemy ; and no sooner had Bahrain 
collected and reviewed his forces, than he received from a 
royal messenger the insulting gift of a distaff, a spinning- 
wheel, and a complete suit of female apparel. Obedient to 
the will of his sovereign, he showed himself to the soldiers 
in this unworthy disguise : they resented his ignominy and 
their own ; a shout of rebellion ran through the ranks ; and 
the general accepted their oath of fidelity and vows of re- 
venge. A second messenger, who had been commanded to 
bring the rebel in chains, was trampled under the feet of an 
elephant, and manifestos were diligently circulated, exhort- 
ing the Persians to assert their freedom against an odious 
and contemptible tyrant. The defection was rapid and uni- 
versal ; his loyal slaves were sacrificed to the public fury ; 
the troops deserted to the standard of Bahrain ; and the 
provinces again saluted the deliver of his country. 

As the passes were faithfully guarded, Hormouz could 
only compute the number of his enemies by the testimony 
of a guilty conscience, and the daily defection of those who, 
in the hour of his distress, avenged their wrongs, or forgot 
their obligations. lie proudly displayed the ensigns of roy- 
alty ; but the city and palace of Modain had already escaped 
from the hand of the tyrant. Among the victims of his 
cruelty, Bindoes, a Sassanian prince, had been cast into a 
dungeon ; his fetters were broken by the zeal and courage 
of a brother; and he stood before the king at the head of 
those trusty guards, who had been chosen as the ministers 
of his confinement, and perhaps of his death. Alarmed by 
the hasty intrusion and bold reproaches of the captive, Ilor- 
mouz looked round, but in vain, for advice or assistance ; 
discovered that his strength consisted in the obedience of 
others; and patiently yielded to the single arm of Bindoes, 
who dragged him from the throne to the same dungeon in 
which he himself had been so lately confined. At the first 
tumult, Chosroes, the eldest of the sons of Ilormouz, escaped 
from the city ; he was persuaded to return by the pressing 
and friendly invitation of Bindoes, who promised to seat 
him on his father's throne, and who expected to reign under 
the name of an inexperienced youth. In the just assurance, 
that his accomplices could neither forgive nor hope to be 
forgiven, and that every Persian might be trusted as the 
judge and enemy of the tyrant, he instituted a public trial 



OF THE ROMAN EMTIRE. 59 

without a precedent and without a copy in the annals of the 
East. The son of Nushirvan, who had requested to plead 
in his own defence, was introduced as a criminal into the full 
assembly of the nobles and satraps. 13 He was heard with 
decent attention as long as he expatiated on the advantages 
of order and obedience, the danger of 'innovation, and the 
inevitable discord of those who had encouraged each other 
to trample on their lawful and hereditary sovereign. By a 
pathetic appeal to their humanity, he extorted that pity 
which is seldom refused to the fallen fortunes of a king; 
and while they beheld the abject posture and squalid appear- 
ance of the prisoner, his tears, his chains, and the marks of 
ignominious stripes, it was impossible to forget how recent- 
ly they had adored the divine splendor of his diadem and 
purple. But an angry murmur arose in the assembly as 
soon as he presumed to vindicate his conduct, and to applaud 
the victories of his reign* He defined the duties of a kings 
and the Persian nobles listened with a smile of -contempt ; 
they were fired with indignation when he dared to vilify the 
character of Chosroes ; and by the indiscreet offer of resign- 
ing the sceptre to the second of his sons, he subscribed his 
own condemnation, and sacrificed the life of his innocent 
favorite. The mangled bodies of the bov and his mother 
were exposed to the people ; the eyes of Hormouz were 
pierced with a hot needle ; and the punishment of the father 
was succeeded by the coronation of his eldest son. Chosroes 
had ascended the throne without guilt, and his piety strove 
to alleviate the misery of the abdicated monarch ; from the 
dungeon he removed Hormouz to an apartment of the palace. 
supplied with liberality the consolations of sensual enjoy- 
ment, and patiently endured the furious sallies of his resent- 
ment and despair. He might despise the resentment of a 
blind and unpopular tyrant, but the tiara was trembling on 
his head, till he could subvert the power, or acquire the 
friendship, of the great Bahrain, who sternly denied the jus- 
tice of a revolution, in which himself and his soldiers, the 
true representatives of Persia, had never been consulted. 
The offer of a general amnesty, and of the second rank in 

13 The Orientals suppose that Bahrain convened this assembly and pro- 
claimed Chosroes ; but Theophylact is, in tbis instance, more distinct and cred- 
ible.* 



* Yet Theophylact seems to have seized the opportunity to indulge his pro- 
pensity for writing orations ; and the orations read rather like those of a Gre- 
cian sophist than of an Eastern assembly.— M. 



60 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

his kingdom, was answered by an epistle from Bahrain, 
friend of the gods, conqueror of men, and enemy of tyrants, 
the satrap of satraps, general of the Persian armies, and a 
prince adorned with the title of eleven virtues. 14 He com- 
mands Chosroes, the son of Hormouz, to shun the example 
and fate of his father, to confine the traitors who had been 
released from their chains, to deposit in some holy place the 
diadem which he had usurped, and to accept from his gra- 
cious benefactor the pardon of his faults and the govern- 
ment of a province. The rebel might not be proud, and the 
king most assuredly w r as not humble ; but the one was con- 
scious of his strength, the other was sensible of his weakness ; 
and even the modest language of his reply still left room for 
treaty and reconciliation. Chosroes led into the field the 
slaves of the palace and the populace of the capital : they 
beheld with terror the banners of a veteran army; they were 
encompassed and surprised by the evolutions of the general ; 
and the satraps who had deposed Hormouz, received the 
punishment of their revolt, or expiated their first treason by 
a second and more criminal act of disloyalty. The life and 
liberty of Chosroes were saved, but he was reduced to the 
necessity of imploring aid or refuge in some foreign land ; 
and the implacable Bindoes, anxious to secure an unques- 
tionable title, hastily returned to the palace, and ended, with 
a bowstring, the wretched existence of the son of Nushirvan. 15 
While Chosroes despatched the preparations of his re- 
treat, he deliberated with his remaining friends, 16 whether 
he should lurk in the valleys of Mount Caucasus, or fly to 
the tents of the Turks, or solicit the protection of the em- 
peror. The long emulation of the successors of Artaxerxes 
and Constantine increased his reluctance to appear as a 
suppliant in a rival court ; but he weighed the forces of the 

14 See the words of Theophylact, l.iv. o. 7. Bapaju. <J><.Ao? toi? ^eoi? viktjttis, 

«7ru(f)avr)?, Tvpdvuaiv e\0po<;, craTpdwr]'; /ue-yicrrai'tor, ttj? Ilepcri/crj? apx^v 6vva/ieio?. Ill 

his answer, Chosroes styles himself t ', wkti x a P l £°t JLei ' '> 6/x/uara * * * 6 tous 
' Acraifa? (the genii) ixia-dovfxevo<;. This is genuine Oriental bombast. 

15 Theophylact (1. iv. c. 7) imputes the death of Hormouz to his son, by whose 
command he was beaten to death with clubs. I have followed the milder ac- 
count oi Khondemir and Eutychius, and shall always be content with the slight- 
est evidence to extenuate the crime of parricide.* 

»« After the battle of Pharsalia. the Pompey of Lucan (1. viii. 256-455) holda 
a similar debate. He was himself desirous of seeking the Parthians : but his 
companions abhorred the unnatural alliance ; and the adverse prejudices might 
operate as forcibly on Chosroes and his companions, who could describe, with 
the same vehemence, the contrast of laws, religion, and manners, between the 
East and West. 



* Malcolm concurs in ascribing his death to Bundawee (Bindoes") vol. i. p* 
123. The Eastern writers generally impute the crime to the uncle. St.. Martin, 
vol. x. p. 300.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Gl 

Romans, and prudently considered, that the neighborhood 
of Syria would render his escape more easy and their suc- 
cors more effectual. Attended only by his concubines, and 
a troop of thirty guards, he secretly departed from the 
capital, followed the banks of the Euphrates, traversed the 
desert, and halted at the distance of ten miles from Circe- 
sium. About the third watch of the night, the Roman 
praefect was informed of his approach, and he introduced 
the royal stranger to the fortress at the dawn of day. From 
thence the king of Persia was conducted to the more honor- 
able residence of Hierapolis ; and Maurice dissembled his 
pride, and displayed his benevolence, at the reception of the 
letters and ambassadors of the grandson of Nushirvan. They 
humbly represented the vicissitudes of fortune and the com- 
mon interest of princes, exaggerated the ingratitude of 
Bahrain, the agent of the evil principle, and urged, with 
specious argument, that it was for the advantage of the 
Romans themselves to support the two monarchies which 
balance the world, the two great luminaries by whose 
salutary influence it is vivified and adorned. The anxiety 
of Chosroes was soon relieved by the assurance, that the 
emperor had espoused the cause of justice and royalty ; but 
Maurice prudently declined the expense and delay of his 
useless visit to Constantinople. In the name of his generous 
benefactor, a rich diadem was presented to the fugitive 
prince, with an inestimable gift of jew T els and gold ; a power- 
ful army was assembled on the frontiers of Syria and Ar- 
menia, under the command of the valiant and faithful 
Narses, 17 and this general, of his own nation, and his own 
choice, was directed to pass the Tigris, and never to sheathe 
his sword till he had restored Chosroes to the throne of his 
ancestors.* The enterprise, however splendid, was less 
arduous than it might appear. Persia had already repented 
of her fatal rashness, which betrayed the heir of the house 
of Sassan to the ambition of a rebellious subject : and the 
bold refusal of the Magi to consecrate his usurpation, com- 
pelled Bahrain to assume the sceptre, regardless of the laws 

17 In this age there were three warriors of the name of Xarses, who have 
been often confounded (Pagi, Critica, torn. ii. p. 610) : 1. A Persarmenian, the 
brother of Isaac and Armatius, who, after a successful action against Belisarius, 
desalted from his Persian sovereign, and afterwards served in the Italian war. — 
2. The e much who conquered Italy. — 3. The restorer of Chosroes, who is cele- 
brated in the poem of Corippus (1." iii. 220—327) as excelsus super omnia vertice 
agmina .... hahitu inodestus .... morum probitate placens, virtute veren- 
du3 ; fulmineus, cautus, vigilans, &c. 



* The Armenians adhered to Chosroes. St. Martin, vol. x. p. 312.— M. 



G2 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and prejudices of the nation. The palace was soon dis- 
tracted with conspiracy, the city with tumult, the provinces 
with insurrection ; and the cruel execution of the guilty and 
the suspected served to irritate rather than subdue the 
public discontent. No sooner did the grandson of Nush- 
irvan display his own and the Roman banners beyond the 
Tigris, than he was joined, each day, by the increasing mul- 
titudes of the nobility and people ; and as he advanced, he 
received from every side the grateful offerings of the keys 
of his cities and the heads of his enemies. As soon as 
Modain was freed from the presence of the usurper, the 
loyal inhabitants obeyed the first summons of Mebodes at 
the head of only two thousand horse, and Chosroes accepted 
the sacred and precious ornaments of the palace as the 
pledge of their truth and the presage of his approaching 
success. After the junction of the Imperial troops, which 
Bahram vainly struggled to prevent, the contest was decided 
by two battles on the banks of the Zab, and the confines of 
Media. The Romans, with the faithful subjects of Persia, 
amounted to sixty thousand, while the whole force of the 
usurper did not exceed forty thousand men : the two gen- 
erals signalized their valor and ability ; but the victory was 
finally determined by the prevalence of numbers and dis- 
cipline. With the remnant of a broken army, Bahram fled 
towards the eastern provinces of the Oxus : the enmity of 
Persia reconciled him to the Turks ; but his days were 
shortened by poison, perhaps the most incurable of poisons; 
the stings of remorse and despair, and the bitter remem- 
brance of lost glory. Yet the modern Persians still com- 
memorate the exploits of Bahram ; and some excellent laws 
have prolonged the duration of his troubled and transitory 
reign.* 

The restoration of Chosroes was celebrated with feasts 
and executions ; and the music of the royal banquet Avas 
often disturbed by the groans of dying or mutilated crim- 
inals. A general pardon might have diffused comfort and 
tranquillity through a country which had been shaken by 
the late revolutions ; yet before the sanguinary temper of 
Chosroes is blamed, we should learn whether the Persians 

* According to Mirkhond and the Oriental writers, Bahram received the 
daughter of tlie Khakan in marriage, ami commanded a body of Turks in an 
invasion of Persia. Some say that he was assassinated : Malcolm adopts the 
opinion that he was poisoned. His sister Gourdich, the companion of his flight, 
is celebrated in the Shah Nameh. She was afterwards oue of the wives of Choa* 
roes. St. Martin, vol. x. p. 331.— M. 



OF THE T.OMAX EMPIRE. ()3 

had not been accustomed either to dread the rigor, or to 
despise the weakness, of their sovereign. The revolt of 
Bahrain, and the conspiracy of the satraps, were impartially 
punished by the revenge or justice of the conqueror; the 
merits of Bindoes himself could not purify his hand from 
the guilt of royal blood : and the son of Hormouz was de- 
sirous to assert his own innocence, and to vindicate the 
sanctity of kings. During the vigor of the Roman power, 
several princes were seated on the throne of Persia by the 
arms and the authority of the first Caasars. But their new 
subjects were soon disgusted with the vices or virtues which 
they had imbibed in a foreign land ; the instability of their 
dominion gave birth to a vulgar observation, that the choice 
of Rome was solicited and rejected with equal ardor by the 
capricious levity of Oriental slaves. 18 But the glory of 
Maurice was conspicuous in the long and fortunate reign of 
his son and his ally. A band of a thousand Romans, who 
continued to guard the person of Chosroes, proclaimed his 
confidence in the fidelity of the strangers ; his growing 
strength enabled him to dismiss this unpopular aid, but he 
steadily professed the same gratitude and reverence to his 
adopted father ; and till the death of Maurice, the peace and 
alliance of the two empires were faithfully maintained. Yet 
the mer-: enary friendship of the Roman prince had been pur- 
chased with costly and important gifts ; the strong cities of 
Marty ropol is and Dara * were restored, and the Persarmen- 
lans became the willing subjects of an empire, whose eastern 
limit was extended, beyond the example of former times, as 
far as the banks of the Araxes, and the neighborhood of the 
Caspian. A pious hope was indulged, that the church as 
well as the state might triumph in this revolution : but if 
Chosroes had sincerely listened to the Christian bishops, the 
impression was erased by the zeal and eloquence of the 
Magi : if lie was armed with philosophic indifference, he ac- 
commodated his belief, or rather his professions, to the vari- 
ous circumstances of an exile and a sovereign. The im- 
aginary conversion of the king of Persia was reduced to a 

1H Experiments cognitum est Barbaros malle Rom:! petere reges quam 
habere. These experiments are admirably represented in the invitation and 
expulsion of Vonones (Annal. ii. 1--.1), Tiridates (Annal. vi. 32-44), and Meher- 
daies (Annal. xi. 10, xii. 10—14). The eve of Tacitus se :ins to have transpierced 
the camp of the Parthians and the walls of the harem; 



* Concerning Nisibis, see St. Martin and his Armenian authorities, vol. x. p. 
332, and Mtmoires sur lArmenie, torn. i. p- 25.— j\1. 



6t THE DECLINE AND FALL 

local and superstitious veneration for Sergius, 19 one of the 
saints of Antioch, who beard his prayers and appeared to 
htm in dreams ; he enriched the shrine with offerings ot: 
gold and silver, and ascribed to this invisible patron the suc- 
cess of Ins arms, and the pregnancy of Sira, a devout Chris- 
tian and the best beloved of his wives. 20 The beauty of 
Sira, or Schirin,' 21 her wit, her musical talents, are stilL 
famous in the history, or rather in the romances, of the 
East : her own name is expressive, in the Persian tongue, of 
sweetness and grace; and the epithet of Parmz alludes to 
the charms of her royal lover. Yet Sira never shared the 
passion which she inspired, and the bliss of Chosroes was 
tortured by a jealous doubt, that while he possessed her 
person, she had bestowed her affections on a meaner favor- 
ite.^ 

While the majesty of the Roman name was revived in 
the East, the prospect of Europe is less pleasing and less 
glorious. By the departure of the Lombards, and the rum 
of the Gepida), the balance of power was destroyed on the 
Danube; and the Avars spread their permanent dominion 
from the foot of the Alps to the sea-coast of the Euxine. 

19 Sergius .and his companion Bacchus, who are said to have suffered in th« 
persecution of Maxiinian, obtained divine honor in France, Italy, Constantino- 
ple, and the East. Their tomb at Kasaphe was famous lor miracles, and that 
Syrian town acquired the more honorable name of Sergiopolis. Tillemont, 
Mem. Eccles- torn. v. pp. 481-496. Butler's Saints, vol. x. p. 155. 

*■' Evagrius (1. vi. c 21) ami Theophylact (I. v. c. 13. 1-1) have preserved the 
original letters of Chosroes, written in Greek,* signed with his own hand, and 
afterwards inscribed on crosses and tables of gold, which were deposited in the 
church of Sergiopolis. They had been sent to the bishop of Antioch, as primate 
of Syria. 

2i The Greeks only describe her as a Roman by birth, a Christian by religion : 
but she is represented as the daughter of the emperor Maurice in the Persian 
and Turkish romances which celebrate the love of Khosrou for Sehirin.of Schirin 
for Ferhad, the most beautiful youth of the East. D'Herbeiot. Biblioth. Orient 
pp. 780, 997, 9.18. t 

22 The whole series of the tyranny of Hormouz, the revolt of Bahrain, and 
the llight and restoration of Chosroes, is related hy two contemporary Greeks- 
more concisely by Evagrius (1. vi. c. 16,17, 18, 19), and most diffusely by The- 
ophylact Simocatta (1. Hi. c. 6-18, 1. iv. c. 1-16, 1. v. c. 1—1.5) : succeeding com- 




_ gre?-_ 

historians of the xvth century, Mirkhond and Khondemir, are onlv known to 
me by the imperfect extracts of Schikard (Tarikh, pp. 150-155), Texeira, or 
rather Stevens (Hist, of Persia, pp. 182-186. a Turkish MS. translated by the 

'1. Kluwro'i 

__ild wish these 

Oriental materials had been more copious. 



rainer Mevens (nisi, or rersia, pp. 182-186. a Turkish MS. transl 
Abbe Fourmount (Hist, de I'Aeademic deb Inscriptions, torn. vii. 
and D'Herbeiot (aux mots llonnouz, pp. 457-459. Bahrain, p. 17 
Parviz, p. 996). Were 1 perfectly sal idled of their authority, I couk 



* St. Martin thinks that th^y were first written in Syriac, and then translated 
into the 1 ad Greek in which they appear, vol. x. p. ,°>34.'— M. 

'Compare M. von Hammer's preface to, and poem of, Schirin. in which he 
gives an account of the various Persian po<mis of which he has endeavored to ex- 
tract the essence i.i hits own work.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 65 

The reign of Baian is the brightest sera of their monarchy; 
their chagan, who occupied the rustic palace of Attila, ap- 
pears to have imitated his character and policy ; M but as 
the same scenes were repeated in a smaller circle, a minute 
representation of the copy would be devoid of the greatness 
and novelty of the original. The pride of the second Justin, 
of Tiberius, and Maurice, was humbled by a proud Barbarian, 
more prompt to inflict than exposed to suffer, the injuries of 
war ; and as often as Asia was threatened by the Persian 
arms, Europe was oppressed by the dangerous inroads, or 
costly friendship, of the Avars. When the Roman envoys 
approached the presence of the chagan, they were com- 
manded to wait at the door of his tent, till, at the end per- 
haps of ten or twelve days, he condescended to admit them. 
If the substance or the style of their message was offensive 
to his ear, he insulted, with real or affected fury, their own 
dignity, and that of their prince ; their baggage was plun- 
dered, and their lives were only saved by the promise of a 
richer present and a more respectful address. But his sacred 
ambassadors enjoyed and abused an unbounded license in 
the midst of Constantinople : they urged, with importunate 
clamors, the increase of tribute, or the restitution of cap- 
tives and deserters : and the majesty of the empire was 
almost equally degraded by a base compliance, or by the 
false and fearful excuses with which they eluded such inso- 
lent demands. The chagan had never seen an elephant ; 
and his curiosity was excited by the strange, and perhaps 
fabulous, portrait of that wonderful animal. At his com- 
mand, one of the largest elephants of the Imperial stables 
was equipped with stately caparisons, and conducted by a 
numerous train to the royal village in the plains of Hungary. 
He surveyed the enormous beast with surprise, with disgust, 
and possibly with terror ; and smiled at the vain industry 
of the Romans, who, in search of such useless rarities, could 
explore the limits of the land and sea. He wished, at the 
expense of the emperor, to repose in a golden bed. The 
wealth of Constantinople, and the skilful diligence of her 
artists, were instantly devoted to the gratification of his 

23 A general idea of the pride and power of the chagan may be taken from 
Menander (Excerpt. Legat. p. 118, &c.) and Theophylact (1. i.' c. 3, 1. vii. c. 16), 
whose eight books are much more honorable to the Avar than to the Roman 
prince. The predecessors of Baian had tasted the liberality of Koine, and fie 
survived the reign of Maurice (Buat, Hist, des Peufdes Barbares, torn. xi. p. 
545). The chagan who invaded Italy, A. D 611 (Muratori, Annali, torn. v. p. 305), 
was then juvenili a±tate florentem (Paul Warnefrid, de Gest. Langobard. (1. v. c. 
38), the son. perhaps, or the grandson, of Baian. 

Vol. IV.— 5 



66 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

caprice; but when the work was finished, lie rejected with 
scorn a present so unworthy the majesty of a great king. 24 
These were the casual sallies of his pride ; but the avarice 
of the chagan was a more steady and tractable passion ; a 
rich and regular supply of «ilk apparel, furniture, and plate, 
introduced the rudiments of art and luxury among the tents 
of the Scythians ; their appetite was stimulated by the 
pepper and cinnamon of India ; 25 the annual subsidy or trib- 
ute was raised from fourscore to one hundred and twenty 
thousand pieces of gold ; and after each hostile interruption, 
the payment of the arrears, with exorbitant interest, was 
always made the first condition of the new treaty. In the 
language of a Barbarian, without guile, the prince of the 
Avars affected to complain of the insincerity of the Greeks ;- 6 
yet he was not inferior to the most civilized nations in the 
refinements of dissimulation and perfidy. As the successor 
of the Lombards, the chagan asserted his claim to the im- 
portant city of Sirmium, the ancient bulwark of the Illyrian 
provinces.' 27 The plains of the Lower Hungary were covered 
with the Avar horse ; and a fleet of large boats was built in 
the Hercynian wood, to descend the Danube, and to trans- 
port into the Save the materials of a bridge. But as the 
strong garrison of Singidunum, which commanded the con- 
flux of the two rivers, might have stopped their passage and 
bafiled his designs, he dispelled their apprehensions by a 
solemn oath that his views were not hostile to the empire. 
He swore by his sword, the symbol of the god of war, that 
he did not, as the enemy of Rome, construct a bridge upon 
the Save. "If I violate my oath," pursued the intrepid 
Baian, " may I myself, and the last of my nation, perish by 
the sword ! May the heavens, and fire, the deity of the 
heavens, fall upon our heads ! May the forests and mountains 
bury us in their ruins ! and the Save returning, against the 
laws of nature, to his source, overwhelm us in his angry 

24 Theophylact, 1. i. c. 5, fi. 

25 Even in the field, the chagan delighted in the use of these aromatics. Ho 
solicited, as a gift, ' lfSixd? /capvxia?, and received 7rejrept xai <frv\Aov ' IvSCw, 
Kaai.av re «ai Toy \ey6jxtvov Koarou. Theophylact 1. vii. c. 13. The Europeans of 
the ruder ages consumed more spices in their meat and drink than is compatible 
with the delicacy of a modern palate. Vie Privee des Francois, torn. ii. pp. 102, 
163. 

'-''- Theophylact, 1. vi. c. 6, 1. vii. c. 15. The Greek historian confesses the 
truth and justice of his reproach. 

27 Menander (in Excerpt. Legat. pp. 126-132, 174, 175) describes the perjury of 
Baian and the surrender of Sirmium. We have lost his account of the siege^ 
which is commended by Theophylact, 1. i. c. 3. To 6' 07rw? Mti>dv6pu> tw nepixavet 
aa</)a>s 6i>jyop€»'Tat.* 



* Compare throughout Schlozer, Nordische Geschichte, pp. 362-372. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 67 

waters!" After this barbarous imprecation, he calmly in- 
quired, what oath was most sacred and venerable among the 
Christians, what guilt or perjury it was most dangerous to 
incur. The bishop of Singidunum presented the gospel, 
which the chagan received with devout reverence. " I 
swear," said he, u by the God who has spoken in this holy 
book, that I have neither falsehood on my tongue, nor treach- 
ery in my heart." As soon as he rose from his knees, he ac- 
celerated the labor of the bridge, and despatched an envoy 
to proclaim what he no longer wished to conceal. u Inform 
the emperor," said the perfidious Baian, " that Sirmium is 
invested on every side. Advise his prudence to withdraw 
the citizens and their effects, and to resign a city which it is 
now impossible to relieve or defend." Without the hope of 
relief, the defence of Sirmium was prolonged above three 
years : the walls were still untouched ; but famine was en- 
closed within the w r alls, till a merciful capitulation allowed 
the escape of the naked and hungry inhabitants. Singidunum, 
at the distance of fifty miles, experienced a more cruel fate : 
the buildings were razed, and the vanquished people were 
condemned to servitude and exile. Yet the ruins of Sirmium 
are no longer visible; the advantageous situation of Sing- 
idunum soon attracted anew colony of Sclavonians, and the 
conflux of the Save and Danube is still guarded by the for- 
tifications of Belgrade, or the White City, so often and so 
obstinately disputed by the Christian and Turkish arms. 36 
From Belgrade to the walls of Constantinople a hue may be 
measured of six hundred miles : that line was marked with 
flames and with blood ; the horses of the Avars were alter- 
nately bathed in the Euxine and the Adriatic ; and ihe 
Roman pontiff, alarmed by the approach of a more savage 
enemy,' 29 was reduced to cherish the Lombards, as the pro- 
tectors of Italy. The despair of a captive, w T hom his coun- 
try refused to ransom, disclosed to the Avars the invention 
and practice of military engines. 30 But in the first attempts 
they were rudely framed, and awkardly managed ; and 
the resistance of Diocletianopolis and Beraea, of Philippop- 
olis and Adrianople, soon exhausted the skill and patience 

2S See D'Anville, in the Memoires de l'Acad. des Inscriptions, torn, xxviii. pp. 
412-443. The Sclavonic names of Belgrade is mentioned in the xth century by 
Constantine Porphyrogenitus ; the Latin appellation of Alba Grazca is used by 
the Franks in the beginning of the ixth (p. 414). 

29 Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. B. 600, No. 1. Paul Wamefrid (1. iv. c. 38) relates 
their irruption into Friuli. and (c. 39) the captivity of his ancestors, about A. I). 
632. The Sclavi traversed the Adriatic cum multitudine naviuin, and made a 
descent in the territory of Sipontum (c. 47). 

30 Even the helepolis, or movable turret. Theophylast, 1. ii. 16, 17. 



68 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the besiegers. The warfare of Baian was that of a Tartar ; 
yet his mind was susceptible of a humane and generous 
sentiment ' he spared Anchialus, whose salutary waters had 
restored the health of the best beloved of his wives; and the 
Romans confessed, that their starving army was fed and 
dismissed by the liberality of a foe. His empire extend- 
ed over Hungary, Poland, and Prussia, from the mouth 
of the Danube to that of the Oder ; 31 and his new 
subjects were divided and transplanted by the jealous 
policy of the conqueror. 32 The eastern regions of Ger- 
many, which had been left vacant by the emigration of 
the Vandals, were replenished with Sclavonian colonists ; 
the same tribes are discovered in the neighborhood of the 
Adriatic and of the Baltic, and with the name of Baian him- 
self, the Illyrian cities of Neyss and Lissa are again found 
in the heart of Silesia. In the disposition both of his troops 
and provinces the chagan exposed the vassals, whose lives 
he disregarded, 33 to the first assault ; and the swords of the 
enemy were blunted before they encountered the native 
valor of the Avars. 

The Persian alliance restored the troops of the East to 
the defence of Europe: and Maurice, who had supported 
ten years the insolence of the chagan, declared his resolu- 
tion to march in person against the Barbarians. In the 
space of two centuries, none of the successors of Theodo- 
sius had appeared in the field : their lives were supinely 
spent in the palace of Constantinople ; and the Greeks could 
no longer understand, that the name of emperor t in its prim- 
itive sense, denoted the chief of the armies of the repub- 
lic. The martial ardor of Maurice was opposed by the 
grave flattery of the senate, the timid superstition of the 
patriarch, and the tears of the empress Constantinn ; and 
they all conjured him to devolve on some meaner general 
the fatigues and perils of a Scythian campaign. Deaf to 
their advice and entreaty, the emperor boldly advanced 34 

31 The arms and alliances of the chagan reached to the neighborhood of a 
western sea, tifteen months' journey from Constantinople. The emperor Mau- 
rice conversed with some itinerant harpers from that remote country, and only 
seems to have mistaken a irade for a nation. Theophylaet, 1. vi. c. 2. 

•>- This is one of the most probable and luminous conjectures of the learned 
count de Buat (Hist, des Peuples Barbaies, torn xi. pp. 540-568). The Tzeehi and 
Seibi are found together near Mount Caucasus, in Illyricuin, and on the Lower 
Elbe. Even the wildest traditions of the Bohemians, &c, afford some color to 
his hypothesis. 

; "See Fredegarius, in the Historians of France, torn. ii. p. 432. Baian did not 
conceal his proud insensibility. On tocovtoO? (not tooovtou<;, according to a 
foolish emendation) <iTra.<f>i)<Toj t*; Pidtjcu/oJ, u; ei <at tri//u/3ai>jyt <7(/>iai ^a^aTu a^toyai, 
aAA t/uoi ye fxri ytvtaOai (jvvai<T0r)<jiv. 

34 See the march and return of Maui ice, Theophylaet,.!. v. ICj , v i 1 o. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 69 

seven miles from the capital ; the sacred ensign of the cross 
was displayed in the front, and Maurice reviewed, with 
conscious pride, the arms and numbers of the veterans who 
had fought and conquered beyond the Tigris. Anchialus 
was the last term of his progress by sea and land ; he solic- 
ited, without success, a miraculous answer to his nocturnal 
prayers ; his mind was confounded by the death of a favor- 
ite horse, the encounter of a wild boar, a storm of wind and 
rain, and the birth of a monstrous child ; and he forgot that 
the best of omens is to unsheathe our sword in the defence 
of our country. 35 Under the pretence of receiving the am- 
bassadors of Persia, the emperor returned to Constantinople, 
exchanged the thoughts of war for those of devotion, and 
disappointed the public hope by his absence and the choice 
of his lieutenants. The blind partiality of fraternal love 
might excuse the promotion of his brother Peter, who fled 
with equal disgrace from the Barbarians, from his own 
soldiers, and from the inhabitants of a Roman city. That 
city, if we may credit the resemblance of name and charac- 
ter, was the famous Azimuntium, 36 which had alone repelled 
the tempest of Attila. The example of her warlike youth 
was propagated to succeeding generations ; and they ob- 
tained, from the first or the second Justin, an honorable 
privilege, that their valor should be always reserved for the 
defence of their native country. The brother of Maurice 
attempted to violate this privilege, and to mingle a patriot 
band with the mercenaries of his camp ; they retired to the 
church, he was not awed by the sanctity of the place ; the 
people lose in their cause, the gates were shut, the ram- 
parts w r ere manned ; and the cowardice of Peter was found 
equal to his arrogance and injustice. The military fame of 
Commentiolus 37 is the object of satire or comedy rather than 
of serious history, since he was even deficient in the vile 
and vulgar qualification of personal courage. His solemn 
councils, strange evolutions, and secret orders, always sup- 

1, 2, 3. If he were a writer of taste or genius, we might suspect him of an 
elegant irony ; but Theophylact is surely harmless. 

3j Ei? oicjvo? aptcrro? aixvveaOai nept Tr6.Tpr\<;. Illiad, xii. 243. 

This noble verse, which unites the spirit of a hero with the reason of a sage, may 
prove that Homer was in every light superior to his age and country. 

3,1 Theophylact, 1. vii. c. 3. On the evidence of this fact, which had not oc- 
curred to my memory, the candid reader will correct ami excuse a note in Chap- 
ter XXXIV., note 8<J of this History, which hastens the decay of Asimus, or 
Azimuntium ; another century of patriotism and valor is cheaply purchased by 
such a confession. 

37 See the shameful conduct of Commentiolus, in Theophylact, 1. ii. c. 10-15, 1. 
vii. c. 13, 14, 1. viii. e. 2, 4. 



70 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

plied an apology for flight or delay. If hemarehed against 
the enemy, the pleasant valleys of Mount Ilsemus opposed 
an insuperable barrier ; but in his retreat, he explored, with 
fearless curiosity, the most difficult and obsolete paths, 
which had almost escaped the memory of the oldest native. 
The only blood which he lost was drawn, in a real or af- 
fected malady, by the lancet of a surgeon ; and his health, 
which felt with exquisite sensibility the approach of the 
Barbarians, was uniformly restored by the repose and safety 
of the winter season. A prince who could promote and sup- 
port this unworthy favorite must derive no glory from the 
accidental merit of his colleague Priscus. 38 In five succes- 
sive battles, which seem to have been conducted with skill 
and resolution, seventeen thousand two hundred Barbarians 
were made prisoners : near sixty thousand, with four sons 
of the chagan, were slain : the Roman general surprised a 
peaceful district of the Gepidae, who slept under the protec- 
tion of the Avars ; and his last trophies were erected on the 
banks of the Danube and the Teyss. Since the death of 
Trajan, the arms of the empire had not penetrated so 
deeply into the old Dacia ; yet the success of Priscus was 
transient and barren ; and he was soon recalled by the ap- 
prehension that Baian, with dauntless spirit and recruited 
forces, was preparing to avenge his defeat under the wails of 
Constantinople. 39 

The theory of war was not more familiar to the camps 
of Caesar and Trajan, than to those of Justinian and 
Maurice. 40 The iron of Tuscany or Pontus still received 
the keenest temper from the skill of the Byzantine work- 
men. The magazines were plentifully stored with every 
species of offensive and defensive arms. In the construc- 
tion and use of ships, engines and fortifications, the Bar- 
barians admired the superior ingenuity of a people whom 
they so often vanquished in the field. The science of tac- 
tics, the order, evolutions, and stratagems of antiquity, was 
transcribed and studied in the books of the Greeks and 
Romans. But the solitude or degeneracy of the provinces 

38 See the exploits of Priscus, 1. viii. c. 23. 

39 The general detail of the war against the Avars may he traced in the first, 
second, sixth, seventh, and eighth books of the history of the emperor Maurice, 
by Theophylact Simocalta. As he wrote in the reign of Heraclius, he had no 
temptation to flattery ; but his want of judgment renders him diffuse in trifles, 
and concise in the most interesting facts. 

40 Maurice himself composed xii. bookR on the military art, which are still 
extant, ana have been published (Upsal, 1G(>4) by John Scheffer. at the end of 
the Tactics of Arrian (Fabricius, Bibliot Grrcca, 1. iv. c. 8, torn. iii. p. 278), who 
promises to speak more fully of his work in its proper place. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 71 

could no longer supply a race of men to handle those weap- 
ons, to guard those walls, to navigate those ships, and to 
reduce the theory of war into bold and successful practice. 
The genius of Belisarius and Narses had been formed with- 
out a master, and expired without a disciple. Neither 
honor, nor patriotism, nor generous superstition, could ani- 
mate the lifeless bodies of slaves and strangers, who had 
succeeded to the honors of the legions : it was in the camp 
alone that the emperor should have exercised a despotic 
command ; it was only in the camps that his authority was 
disobeyed and insulted: he appeased and inflamed with 
gold the licentiousness of the troops ; but their vices were 
inherent, their victories were accidental, and their costly 
maintenance exhausted the substance of a state which they 
were unable to defend. After a long and pernicious indul- 
gence, the cure of this inveterate evil was undertaken by 
Maurice; but the rash attempt, which drew destruction on his 
own head, tended only to aggravate the disease. A reformer 
should be exempt from the suspicion of interest, and he 
must possess the confidence and esteem of those whom he 
proposes to reclaim. The troops of Maurice might listen 
to the voice of a victorious leader ; they disdained the ad- 
monitions of statesmen and sophists ; and, when they re- 
ceived an edict which deducted from their pay the price of 
their arms and clothing, they execrated the avarice of a 
prince insensible of the dangers and fatigues from which he 
had escaped. The camps both of Asia and Europe were 
agitated with frequent and furious seditions ; 4l the enraged 
soldiers of Edessa pursued with reproaches, with threats, 
with wounds, their trembling generals ; they overturned 
the statues of the emperor, cast stones against the miracu- 
lous image of Christ, and either rejected the yoke of all civil 
and military laws, or instituted a dangerous model of volun- 
tary subordination. The monarch, always distant and often 
deceived, Avas incapable of yielding or persisting, according 
to the exigence of the moment. But the fear of a general 
revolt induced him too readily to accept any act of valor, 
or any expression of loyalty, as an atonement for the pop- 
ular offence ; the new reform was abolished as hastily as it 
had been announced, and the troops, instead of punishment 
and restraint, were agreeably surprised by a gracious proc- 
lamation ot immunities and rewards. But the soldiers ac- 

4t See Jhe mutinies under the reign of Maurice, in Theophylact, 1. iii. c. 1-4, 
1. vi. c. 7, 8, 10, 1. vii. c. t, 1. viii. c. 6, &c. 



72 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

cepted without gratitude the tardy and reluctant gifts of 
the emperor: their insolence was elated by the discovery 
of his weakness and their own strength ; and their mutual 
hatred was inflamed beyond the desire of forgiveness or the 
hope of reconciliation. The historians of the times adopt 
the vulgar suspicion, that Maurice conspired to destroy the 
troops whom he had labored to reform ; the misconduct 
and favor of Commentiolus are imputed to this malevolent 
design ; and every age must condemn the inhumanity or 
avarice 42 of a prince, who, by the trifling ransom of six 
thousand pieces of gold, might have prevented the massacre 
of twelve thousand prisoners in the hands of the chagan. 
In the just fervor of indignation, an order was signified to 
the army of the Danube, that they should spare the maga- 
zines of the province, and establish their winter quarters in 
the hostile country of the Avars. The measure of their 
grievances was full ; they pronounced Maurice unwortl y 
to reign, expelled or slaughtered his faithful adherents, and, 
under the command of Phocas, a simple centurion, returned 
by hasty marches to the neighborhood of Constantinople. 
After a long series of legal succession, the military-disorders 
of the third century were again revived ; yet such was the 
novelty of the enterprise, that the insurgents were awed by 
their own rashness. They hesitated to invest their favorite 
with the vacant purple ; and, while they rejected all treaty 
with Maurice himself, they held a friendly correspondence 
with his son Theodosius, and with Germ anus, the father-in- 
law of the royal youth. So obscure had been the former 
condition of Phocas, that the emperor was ignorant of the 
name and character of his rival ; but as soon as he learned, 
that the centurion, though bold in sedition, was timid in 
the face of danger, "Alas!" cried the desponding prince, 
" if he is a coward, he will surely be a murderer,." 

Yet if Constantinople had been firm and faithful, the 
murderer might have spent his fury against the walls; and 
the rebel army would have been gradually consumed or 
reconciled by the prudence of the emperor. In the games 
of the Circus, which he repeated with unusual j omp, Mau- 
rice disguised, w T ith smiles of confidence, the anxiety of his 
heart, condescended to solicit the applause of the factions, 

42 Theophylact and Theophanes seem ignorant of the conspiracy and avarice 
of Maurice. These charges, so unfavorable to the memory of that emperor, are 
first mentioned by the author of the Paschal Chronicle (pp. 379, 3S0); from 
whence Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiv. pp. 77, 78) has transcribed them. Cedrenus (p, 
399) has followed another computation of the ransom. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 73 

and flattered their pride by accepting from their respective 
tribunes a list of nine hundred blues and fifteen hundred 
greens, whom he affected to esteem as the solid pillars of 
his throne. Their treacherous or languid support betrayed 
liis weakness and hastened his fall : the green factions were 
the secret accomplices of the rebels, and the blues recom- 
mended lenity and moderation in a contest with their Roman 
brethren. The rigid and parsimonious virtues of Maurice 
had long since alienated the hearts of his subjects: as he 
walked barefoot in a religious procession, he was rudely 
assaulted with stones, and his guards were compelled to 
present their iron maces in the defence of his person. A 
fanatic monk ran through the streets with a drawn sword, 
denouncing against him the wrath and the sentence of God ; 
and a vile plebeian, who represented his countenance and 
apparel, was seated on an ass, and pursued by the impreca- 
tions of the multitude. 43 The emperor suspected the popu- 
larity of Germanus with the soldiers and citizens : he feared, 
he threatened, but he delayed to strike; the patrician fled 
to the sanctuary of the church ; the people rose in his de- 
fence, the walls were deserted by the guards, and the law- 
less city was abandoned to the flames and rapine of a noc- 
turnal tumult. In a small bark, the unfortunate Maurice, 
with his wife and nine children, escaped to the Asiatic 
shore; but the violence of the wind compelled him to land 
at the church of St. Autonomus, 44 near Chalcedon, from 
whence he despatched Theodosius, Ins eldest son, to im- 
plore the gratitude and friendship of the Persian monarch. 
For himself, he refused to fly : his body was tortured with 
sciatic pains, 45 his mind was enfeebled by superstition ; 
he patiently awaited the event of the revolution, and ad- 
dressed a fervent and public prayer to the Almighty, that 
the punishment of his sins might be inflicted in this world 
rather than in a future life. After the abdication of Man- 

4:5 In their clamors against Maurice, the people of Constantinople branded 
him with the name of Marcionite or Marcionist ; a heresy (says Theophylact, 1. 
viii. C. J)) /ottrd tivos nuipd? (\<Aaliti.a<; <;ur/0T)9 re ko.i KarayeAaaTOs. I)i<l they Only cast 

out a vague reproach— or had the emperor really listened to some obscure teacher 
of those ancient Gnostics? 

41 The church of St. Autonomus (whom I have not the honor to know) was 150 
stadia from Constantinople (Theophylact, 1. viii. c. !)). The port of Eutropius, 
where Maurice and his children were murdered, is described by Gyllius (de 
Bosphoro Thracio, 1. iii. c xi.) as one of the two harbors of Chalcedon. 

4i The inhabitants of Constantinople were generally subject to the voaoi apflpr) 
Ti5e? : and Theophylact insinuates (1. viii. ci 9), that if it were consistent with 
the rules of history, he could assign the medical cause. Yet such a digression 
would not have been more impertinent than his inquiry (1. vii. c. 16, 17) into the 
annual inundations of the Nile, and all the opinions ot the Greek philosophers 
on that subject. 



74 THE DECLINE AND PALL 

rice, the two factions disputed the choice of an emperor ; 
but the favorite of the blues was rejected by the jealousy 
of their antagonists, and Germanus himself was hurried 
along by the crowds who rushed to the palace of Hebdo- 
mon, seven miles from the city, to adore the majesty of 
Phocas the centurion. A modest wish of resign insr the 
purple to the rank and merit of Germanus was opposed by 
his resolution, more obstinate and equally sincere ; the sen- 
ate and clergy obeyed his summons ; and, as soon as the 
patriarch was assured of his orthodox belief, lie consecrated 
the successful usurper in the church of St. John the Bap- 
tist. On the third day, amidst the acclamations of a 
thoughtless people, Phocas made his public entry in a 
chariot drawn by four white horses; the revolt of the 
troops was rewarded by a lavish donative ; and the new 
sovereign, after visiting the palace, beheld from his throne 
the games of the hippodrome. In a dispute of precedency 
between the two factions, his partial judgment inclined in 
favor of the greens. " Remember that Maurice is still 
alive," resounded from the opposite side ; and the indis- 
creet clamor of the blues admonished and stimulated the 
cruelty of the tyrant. The ministers of death were de- 
spatched to Chalcedon ; they dragged the en p?ror from his 
sanctuary; and the five sons of Maurice were successively 
murdered before the eyes of their agonizing parent. At 
each stroke, which he felt in his heart, lie found strength to 
rehearse a pious ejaculation : " Thou art just, O Lord ! and 
thy judgments are righteous." And such, in the last mo- 
ments, was his rigid attachment to truth and justice, that 
he revealed to the soldiers the pious falsehood of a nurse 
who presented her own child in the place of a royal in- 
fant. 46 The tragic scene was finally closed by the execu- 
tion of the emperor himself in the twentieth year of his 
reign, and the sixty-third of his age. The bodies of the 
father and his five sons were cast into the sea ; their heads 
were exposed at Constantinople to the insults or pity of the 
multitude ; and it was not till some signs of putrefaction 
had appeared, that Phocas connived at the private burial of 
these venerable remains. In that grave, the faults and 
errors of Maurice were kindly interred. His fate alone 

46 From this generous attempt, Corneille has deduced the intricate web of his 
tragedy of Heracllus, which requires more tha,n ore representation to be clearly 
understood (Corneille de Voltaire, torn. v. p. 300), and which, after an interval 
of some years, is said to have puzzled the author himself (Anecdotes Drama- 
tiques, torn. i. p. 422). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 75 

•was remembered ; and at the end of twenty years, in the 
recital of the history of Theophylact, the mournful tale 
was interrupted by the tears of the audience. 47 

Such tears must have flowed in secret, and such com- 
passion would have been criminal, under the reign of 
Phocas, who was peaceably acknowledged in the provinces 
of the East and West. The images of the emperor and 
his wife Leontia were exposed in the Lateran to the venera- 
tion of the clergy and senate of Rome, and afterwards de- 
posited in the palace of the Ca3sars, between those of Con- 
stantine and Theodosius. As a subject and a Christian, it 
was the duty of Gregory to acquiesce in the established 
government ; but the joyful applause with which he salutes 
the fortune of the assassin, has sullied, with indelible dis- 
grace, the character of the saint. The successor of the 
apostles might have inculcated with decent firmness the 
guilt of blood, and the necessity of repentance ; he is con- 
tent to celebrate the deliverance of the people and the fall 
of the oppressor ; to rejoice that the piety and benignity 
of Phocas have been raised by Providence to the Imperial 
throne ; to pray that his hands may be strengthened against 
ail his enemies ; and to express a wish, perhaps a prophecy, 
that after a long and triumphant reign, he may be trans- 
ferred from a temporal to an everlasting kingdom. 48 I have 
already traced the steps of a revolution so pleasing, in 
Gregory's opinion, both to heaven and earth ; and Phocas 
does not appear less hateful in the exercise than in the ac- 
quisition of power. The pencil of an impartial historian 
has delineated the portrait of a monster: 49 his diminutive 
and deformed person, the closeness of his shaggy eyebrows, 
his red hair, his beardless chin, and his cheek disfigured and 
discolored by a formidable scar. Ignorant of letters, of 
laws, and even of arms, he indulged in the supreme rank a 
more ample privilege of lust and drunkenness ; and his 

47 The revolt of Phocas and death of Maurice are told by Theophyiact Simo- 
catta (1. viii. c. 7-12), the Paschal Chronicle (pp. 379, 380), Theopbanes (Chrono- 
graph, pp. 238-244), Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiv". pp. 77-80), and Cedrenus (pp. 399- 
404). 

48 Gregor. 1. xi. epist. 38, indict, vi. Benisnitatem vestrae ruetatns ad Impe- 
riale fastigium pervenisse gaudemus. Laetentur eoeli et exultet terra, et de 
vestris benignis actibus universal republican populus nunc usque vehementer 
afh'ictus hilarescat, &c. This base Mattery, the topic of Protestant invective, is 
justly censured by tbe philosopher Bayle (Dictionnaire Critique. Gregoire I. Not. 
H. torn. ii. pp. 597, 598). Cardinal Baronius justifies the pope at the expense of 
the fallen emperor., 

49 The images of Phocas were destroyed ; but even the malice of his enemies 
would suffer one copy of such a portrait or caricature (Cedrenus, p. 404) to 
escape the flames. 



70 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

brutal pleasures were either injurious to his subjects or dis- 
graceful to himself. Without assuming the office of a 
prince, he renounced the profession of a soldier, and the 
reign of Phocas afHicted Europe with ignominious peace, 
and Asia with desolating war. His savage temper was in- 
flamed by passion, hardened by fear, and exasperated by 
resistance or reproach. The flight of Theodosius to the 
Persian court had been intercepted by a rapid pursuit, or a 
deceitful message : he was beheaded at Nice, and the last 
hours of the young prince were soothed by the comforts of 
religion and the consciousness of innocence. Yet his phan- 
tom disturbed the repose of the usurper : a whisper was 
circulated through the East, that the son of Maurice was 
still alive : the people expected their avenger, and the 
widow and daughters of the late emperor would have 
adopted as their son and brother the vilest of mankind. 
In the massacre of the Imperial family, 50 the mercy, or 
rather the discretion, of Phocas, had spared these unhappy 
females, and they were decently confined to a private house. 
But the spirit of the empress Constantina, still mindful of 
her father, her husband, and her sons, aspired to freedom 
and revenge. At the dead of night, she escaped to the 
sanctuary of St. Sophia ; but her tears, and the goid of her 
associate Germanus, were insufficient to provoke an insur- 
rection. Her life was forfeited to revenge, and even to 
justice : but the patriarch obtained and pledged an oath 
for her safety : a monastery was allotted for her prison, and 
the widow of Maurice accepted and abused the lenity of 
his assassin. The discovery or the suspicion of a second 
conspiracy, dissolved the engagements, and rekindled the 
firy, of Phocas. A matron who commanded the respect 
and pity of mankind, the daughter, wife, and mother of 
emperors, was tortured like the vilest malefactor, to force a 
confession of her designs and associates; and the empress 
Constantina, with her three innocent daughters, was be- 
headed at Chalcedon, on the same ground which had been 
stained by the blood of her husband and five sons. After 
such an example, it would be superfluous to enumerate the 
names and sufferings of meaner victims. Their condemna- 
tion was seldom preceded by the forms of trial, and their 

60 The family of Maurice is represented by Ducange (Familine Byzantinas, pp. 
106, 107, 108); his eldest son Theodosius had been crowned emperor, when he was 
no more than four years and a half old, and he is always joined with his father in 
the salutations of Gregory. With the Christian daughters, Anastasia and The- 
octeste, I am surprised to find the Pagan name of Cleopatra. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 77 

punishment was imbittered by the refinements of cruelty : 
their eyes were pierced, their tongues were torn from the 
root, the hands and feet were amputated ; some expired 
under the lash, others in the flames, others again were 
transfixed with arrows; and a simple speedy death was 
mercy which they could rarely obtain. The hippodrome, 
the sacred asylum of the pleasures and the liberty of the 
Romans, was polluted with heads and limbs, and mangled 
bodies ; and the companions of Phocas were the most sen- 
sible, that neither his favor, nor their services, could protect 
them from a tyrant, the worthy rival of the Caligulas and 
Domitians of the first age of the empire. 51 

A daughter of Phocas, his only child, was given in mar- 
riage to the patrician Crispus, 52 and the royal images of the 
bride and bridegroom were indiscreetly placed in the Circus, 
by the side of the emperor. The father must desire that his 
posterity should inherit the fruit of his crimes, but the mon- 
arch was offended by this premature and popular associa- 
tion : the tribunes of the green faction, who accused the of- 
ficious error of their sculptors, were condemned to instant 
death : their lives were granted to the prayers of the peo- 
ple; but Crispus might reasonably doubt, whether a jealous 
usurper could forget and pardon his involuntary competi- 
tion. The green faction was alienated by the ingratitude of 
Phocas and the loss of their privileges ; every province of 
the empire was ripe for rebellion ; and Heraclius, exarch of 
Africa, persisted above two years in refusing all tribute and 
obedience to the centurion who disgraced the throne of Con- 
stantinople. By the secret emissaries of Crispus and the 
senate, the independent exarch was solicited to save and to 
govern his country; but his ambition was chilled by age, 
and he resigned the dangerous enterprise to his son Herac- 
lius, and to Nicetas, the son of Gregory, his friend and lieu- 
tenant. The powers of Africa were armed by the two ad- 
venturous youths; they agreed that the one should navigate 
the fleet from Carthage to Constantinople, that the other 
should lead an army through Egypt and Asia, and that the 
Imperial purple should be the reward of diligence and suc- 

61 Some of the cruelties of Phocas are marked by Theophylact, 1 viii. c. 13, 
14. 15. Ge< r,'e of Pisidia, the poet of Heraclius, styles him (Bell. Av.iricum, p. 
46, Rome, 1777) ttj? TvpawiBos o &vrrKa.9eKTo<; /ecu fiio<h96oo<; bpanoiv- The latter 
epithet is just — but the corrupter of life was easily vanquished. 

62 In the writers, and in the copies of those writers, there is such hesitation 
between the names of Priseus and Crispus (Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. Ill), that I 
have been tempted to identify the son-in-law of Phocas with the hero live times 
Victorious over the Avars. 



78 THE DI2CLIXE AND FALL 

cess. A faint rumor of their undertaking was conveyed to 
the ears of Phocas, and the wife and mother of the younger 
Heraclius were secured as the hostages of his faith : but the 
treacherous heart of Crisp us extenuated the distant peril, 
the means of defence were neglected or delayed, and the 
tyrant supinely slept till the African navy cast anchor in 
the Hellespont. Their standard was joined at Abydus by 
the fugitives and exiles who thirsted tor revenge ; the ships 
of Heraclius, whose lofty masts were adorned with the holy 
symbols of religion, 63 steered their triumphant course 
through the Propontis ; and Phocas beheld from the win- 
dows of the palace his approaching and inevitable fate. 
The green faction was tempted, by gifts and promises, to 
oppose a feeble and fruitless resistance to the landing of the 
Africans : but the people, and even the guards, were deter- 
mined by the well-timed defection of Crispus ; and the 
tyrant was seized by a private enemy, who boldly invaded 
the solitude of the palace. Stripped of the diadem and 
purple, clothed m a vile habit, and loaded with chains, he 
was transported in a small boat to the Imperial galley of 
Heraclius, who reproached him with the crimes of his abom- 
inable reign. "Wilt thou govern better?" were the last 
words of the despair of Phocas. After suffering each va- 
riety of insult and torture, his head was severed from his 
body, the mangled trunk was cast into the names, and the 
same treatment was inflicted on the statues of the vain 
usurper, and the seditious banner of the green faction. 
The voice of the clergy, the senate, and the people, invited 
Heraclius to ascend the throne which he had purified from 
guilt and ignominy ; after some graceful hesitation, he 
yielded to their entreaties. His coronation was accompa- 
nied by that of his wife Eudoxia; and their posterity, till 
the fourth generation, continued to reign over the empire of 
the East. The voyage of Heraclius had been easy and pros- 
perous; the tedious march of Nicetas was not accomplished 
before the decision of the contest : but he submitted with- 
out a murmur to the fortune of his friend, and his laudable 
intentions were rewarded with an equestrian statue, and a 
daughter of the emperor. It was more difficult to trust the 
fidelity of Crispus, whose recent services were recompensed 

M According to Theophanes, ki&mtio. and eUoua.^ #e<>M.»7Top<K. Cedrenusadds an 
axepoTTT<.T)Toi> efVora toG Kvp.ov, which Heraclius bore as a banner in the lirst 
Persian expedition. See George Pisid. Acroas I. 140- The manufacture 6eenis 
to have flourished ; but Fogginf, the Roman editor (p. 2G) is at a loss to determine 
whether this picture was an original or a copy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 79 

by the command of the Cappadocian army. His arrogance 
soon provoked, and seemed to excuse, the ingratitude of his 
new sovereign. In the presence of the senate, the son-in- 
law of Phocas was condemned to embrace the monastic life ; 
and the sentence was justified by the weighty observation of 
Heraclius, that the man who had betrayed his father could 
never be faithful to his friend. 54 

Even after his death the republic was afflicted by the 
crimes of Phocas, which armed with a pious cause the most 
formidable of her enemies. According to the friendly and 
equal forms of the Byzantine and Persian courts, he an- 
nounced his exaltation to the throne ; and his ambassador 
Lilius, who had presented him with the heads of Maurice 
and his sons, was the best qualified to describe the circum- 
stances of the tragic scene. 55 However it might be var- 
nished by fiction or sophistry, Chosroes turned with horror 
from tho assassin, imprisoned the pretended envoy, dis- 
claimed the usurper, and declared himself the avenger of 
his father and benefactor. The sentiments of grief and re- 
sentment, which humanity would feel, and honor would dic- 
tate, promoted on this occasion the interest of the Persian 
king ; and his interest was powerfully magnified by the na- 
tional and religious prejudices of the Magi and satraps. In 
a strain of artful adulation, which assumed the language of 
freedom, they presumed to censure the excess of his grati- 
tude and friendship for the Greeks ; a nation with whom it 
was dangerous to conclude either peace or alliance ; whose 
superstition Avas devoid of truth and justice, and who must 
be incapable of any virtue, since they could perpetrate the 
most atrocious of crimes, the impious murder of their sover- 
eign. 56 For the crime of an ambitious centurion, the na- 
tion which he oppressed was chastised with the calamities 
of war; and the same calamities, at the end of twenty 
years, were retaliated and redoubled on the heads of the 
Persians. 57 The general who had restored Chosroes to the 

u See the tyranny of Phocas and the elevation of Heraclius, in Chron. Paschal, 
pp. 380-383. Theophanes, pp. 244-250. Nicephorus, pp. 3-7. Cedrenus, pp. 404- 
407. Zonaras, torn. ii. 1. xiv. pp. 80-82. 

G5 Theophylact, 1. viii. c. 15. The life of Maurice was composed about the 
year 628 (1. viii. c, 13) hy Theophylact Simoeatta, ex-pra±£ect, a native of Egypt. 
Photius, who gives an ample extract of the work (cod. Ixv. pp. 81- ]00), gently 
reproves the aifectation and allegoiw of the style. His preface is a dialogue be- 
tween Philosophy and History ; they seat themselves under a plane-tree, and the 
latter touches her lyre. 

6G Christianis nee pactum esse, nee fidem nee fosdus * * * * quod si ulla illls 
fides fuisset, regem suum non occidissent. Eutych. Annales, torn. ii. p. 211 
vers. Pocock. 

57 We must now, for some ages, take our leave of contemporary historians, and 
descend, if it be a descent, from the aifectation of rhetoric to the rude simplicity 



80 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

throne still commanded in the East; and the name of Nar- 
ses was the formidable sound with which the Assyrian 
mothers were accustomed to terrify their infants. It is not 
improbable, that a native subject of Persia should encour- 
age his master and his friend to deliver and possess the 
provinces of Asia. It is still more probable, that Chosroes 
should animate his troops by the assurance that the sword 
which they dreaded the most would remain in its scabbard, 
or be drawn in their favor. The hero could not depend on 
the faith of a tyrant; and the tyrant was conscious how lit- 
tle he deserved the obedience of a hero. Narses was re- 
moved from his military command; he reared an indepen- 
dent standard at llierapolis, in Syria : he was betrayed by 
fallacious promises, and burnt alive in the market place of 
Constantinople. Deprived of the only chief whom they 
could fear or esteem, the bands which he had led to victory 
were twice broken by the cavalry, trampled by the ele- 
phants, and pierced by the arrows of the Barbarians; and 
a great number of the captives were beheaded on the field 
of battle by the sentence of the victor, who might justly 
condemn these seditious mercenaries as the authors or ac- 
complices of the death of Maurice. Under the reign of 
Phocas, the fortifications of Merdin, Dara, Amida, and 
Edessa, were successively besieged, reduced, and destroyed, 
by the Persian monarch: he passed the Euphrates, occupied 
the Syrian cities, llierapolis, Chalcis, and Berrhasa or Alep- 
po, and soon encompassed the w r alls of Antioch with his 
irresistible arms. The rapid tide of success discloses the 
decay of the empire, the incapacity of Phocas, and the dis- 
affection of his subjects; and Chosroes provided a decent 
apology for their submission or revolt, by an impostor, who 
attended his camp as the son of Maurice 58 and the lawful 
heir of the monarchy. 

The first intelligence from the East which Heraclius re- 
ceived, 59 was that of the loss of Antioch ; but the aged me- 

of chronicles and abridgments. Those of Theophanes (Chronograph, pp. 244- 
279) and Nicephorus (pp. :i-16) supply a regular, but imperfect, series of the Per- 
sian war ; and for any additional facts I quote my special authorities. The- 
ophanes, a courtier who became a monk, was born A. D. 748 ; Nicephorus, 
pa' riarch of Constantinople, who died A. I). 829, was somewhat younger: they 
both suffered in the cause of images. Hanldus, de Scrip toribus Byzantinis, pp. 
200-216. 

58 The Persian historians have been themselves deceived ; but Theophanes 
(p. 214) accuses Chosroes of the fraud and falsehood; and Eutychius believes 
(Annal. torn. if. p. 211) that the son of Maurice, who was saved from the assassins, 
Jved and died a monk on Mount Sinai. 

59 Eutychius dates all the losses of the empire under the reign of Phocas ; an 
error which saves the honor of Heraclius, whom he brings not from Carthage, 
but Salonica, with a fleet laden with vegetables for the relief of Constant!- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 81 

tropolis, so often overturned by earthquakes, and pillaged 
by the enemy, could supply but a small and languid stream 
of treasure and blood. The Persians were equally success- 
ful, and more fortunate, in the sack of Ca^sarea, the capital 
of Cappadocia; and as they advanced beyond the ramparts 
of the frontier, the boundary of ancient war, they found a 
less obstinate resistance and a more plentiful harvest. The 
pleasant vale of Damascus has been adorned in every age 
with a royal city : her obscure felicity has hitherto escaped 
the historian of the Roman empire : but Chosroes reposed 
his troops in the paradise of Damascus before he ascended 
the hills of Libanus, or invaded the cities of the Phoenician 
coast. The conquest of Jerusalem, 00 which had been medi- 
tated by Nushirvan, was achieved by the zeal and avarice 
of his grandson ; the ruin of the proudest monument of 
Christianity was vehemently urged by the intolerant spirit 
of the Magi ; and he could enlist for this holy warfare 
an army of six-and-twenty thousand Jews, whose furious 
bigotry might compensate, in some degree, for the want of 
valor and discipline.* After the reduction of Galilee, and 
the region beyond the Jordan, whose resistance appears to 
have delayed the fate of the capital, Jerusalem itself was 
taken by assault. The sepulchre of Christ, and the stately 
churches of Helena and Constantine, were consumed, or at 
least damaged, by the flames; the devout offerings of three 
hundred years were rifled in one sacrilegious day; the Pa- 
triarch Zachariah, and the true cross, were transported into 
Persia ; and the massacre of ninety thousand Christians is 
imputed to the Jews and Arabs, who swelled the disorder 
of the Persian march. The fugitives of Palestine were en- 
tertained at Alexandria by the charity of John the Arch- 
bishop, who is distinguished among a crowd of saints by 
the epithet of abnsgwer : 6l and the revenues of the church, 
with a treasure of three hundred thousand pounds, were 

nople (Annal. torn. ii. pp. 223, 224). The other Christians of the East, Barhe- 
braeus (apud Asseman. Bibliothec. Oriental, torn. iii. pp. 412, 413>, Eimaein (Hist- 
Saracen, pp. 1.3-16), Abulpharagius (Dynast, pp. 98, 99), are more sincere and 
accurate. The years of the Persian war are disposed in the chronology of Pagi. 

00 On the conquest of Jerusalem, an event so interesting to tlie church, 6ee 
the Annals of Eutychius (torn. ii. pp. 212-223), and the lamentations of the monk 
Antiochus (apud Baronium. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 614, No. 16-26), whose one 
hundred and twenty-nine homilies are still extant, if what no one reads may be 
said to be extant. 

bl The life of this worthy saint is composed by Leontius, a contemporary 
bishop; and I find in Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 610, No. 10, &c.) and Eleury 
(torn. viii. pp. 235-242) sufficient extracts of this edifying work. 



* See Hist, of Jews, vol. iii. p. 240.— M. 

Vol. IV.— 6 



82 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

restored to the true proprietors, the poor of every country 
and every denomination. But Egypt itself, the only prov- 
ince which had been exempt, since the time of Diocletian, 
from foreign and domestic war, was again subdued by the 
successors of Cyrus. Pelusium, the key of that impervious 
country, was surprised by the cavalry of the Persians : 
they passed, with impunity, the innumerable channels of 
the Delta, and explored the long valley of the Nile, from 
the pyramids of Memphis to the confines of Ethiopia. 
Alexandria might have been relieved by a naval force, but 
the archbishop and the praefect embarked for Cyprus ; 
and Chosroes entered the second city of the empire, which 
still preserved a wealthy remnant of industry and com- 
merce. Plis western trophy was erected, not on the walls 
of Carthnge, 62 but in the neighborhood of Tripoli : the 
Greek colonies of Cyrene were finally extirpated ; and the 
conqueror, treading in the footsteps of Alexander, returned 
in triumph through the sands of the Libyan desert. In the 
same campaign, another army advanced from the Eu- 
phrates to the Thracian Bosphorus ; Chalcedon surrendered 
after a long seige, and a Persian camp was maintained 
above ten years in the presence of Constantinople. The 
sea-coast of Pontus, the city of Ancyra, and the Isle of 
Rhodes, are enumerated among the last conquests of the 
great king ; and if Chosroes had possessed any maritime 
power, his boundless ambition would have spread slavery 
and desolation over the provinces of Europe. 

From the long-disputed banks of the Tigris and Eu- 
phrates, the reign of the grandson of Nushirvan was sud- 
denly extended to the Hellespont and the Nile, the ancient 
limits of the Persian monarchy. But the provinces, which 
had been fashioned by the habits of six hundred years to 
the virtues and vices of the Roman government, supported 
with reluctance the yoke of the Barbarians. The idea of 
a republic was kept alive by the institutions, or at least by 
the writings, of the Greeks and Romans, and the subjects 
of Heraclius had been educated to pronounce the words of 
liberty and law. But it has always been the pride and pol- 
icy of Oriental princes to display the titles and attributes 
of their omnipotence , to upbraid a nation of slaves with 

02 The error of Baronius, and many others who have carried the arms of 
Chosroes to Carthage instead of Chalcedon, is founded on the near resemblance 
of the Greek words KaAxr^cna and rapyjjSoi'a in the text of Theophanes. &e., 
which have been sometimes confounded by transcribers, and sometimes by 
critics. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 83 

their true name and abject condition, and to enforce, by- 
cruel and insolent threats, the rigor of their absolute com- 
mands. The Christians of the East were scandalized by 
the worship of lire, and the impious doctrine of the two 
principles : the Magi were not less intolerant than the 
bishops; and the martyrdom of some native Persians, who 
had deserted the religion of Zoroaster, 63 was conceived to 
be the prelude of a fierce and general persecution. By the 
oppressive laws of Justinian, the adversaries of the church 
were made the enemies of the state ; the alliance of the 
Jews, Nestorians, and Jacobites, had contributed to the suc- 
cess of Chosroes, and his partial favor to the sectaries 
provoked the hatred and fears of the Catholic clergy. Con- 
scious of their fear and hatred, the Persian conqueror gov- 
erned his new subjects with an iron sceptre ; and, as if 
he suspected the stability of his dominion, he exhausted 
their wealth by exorbitant tributes and licentious rapine; 
despoiled or demolished the temples of the East ; and 
transported to his hereditary realms the gold, the silver, the 
precious marbles, the arts, and the artists of the Asiatic 
cities. In the obscure picture of the calamities of the em- 
pire, 64 it is not easy to discern the ti^rre of Chosroes him- 
self, to separate his actions from those of his lieutenants, or 
to ascertain his personal merit in the general blaze of glory 
and magnificence. He enjoyed with ostentation the fruits 
of victory, and frequently retired from the hardships of 
war to the luxury of the palace. But in the space of 
twenty- four years, he was deterred by superstition or re- 
sentment from approaching the gates of Ctesiphon : and his 
favorite residence of Artemita, or Dastagerd, was situate 
beyond the Tigris, about sixty miles to the north of the 
capital. 65 The adjacent pastures were covered with flocks 
and herds; the paradise or park was replenished with 
pheasants, peacocks, ostriches, roebucks, and wild boars, and 
the noble game of lions and tigers was sometimes turned 
loose for the bolder pleasures of the chase. Nine hundred 
and sixty elephants were maintained for the use or splendor 
of the great king; his tents and baggage were carried into 

63 The genuine, acts of St. Anastasius are published in those of the viith gen- 
eral council, from whence Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 614, G28, b27) and 
Butler (Lives of the Saints, vol- i. pp. 242-248) have taken their accounts. The 
holy martyr deserted from the Persian to the Roman army, became a monk at 
Jerusalem, and insulted the worship of the 31agi, which was then established at 
Caesnrea in Palestine. 

M A bul pharaglus, Dynast, p. 99. Elmacin, Hist. Saracen, p. 14. 

oc D'Anville, Mem. de l'Acadeanie des Inscriptions, torn, xxxii. pp. 5G8-571. 



84 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the field by twelve thousand great camels and eight thou- 
sand of a smaller size ; 66 and the royal stables were fided 
with six thousand mules and horses, among whom the 
names of Shebdiz and Barid are renowned for their speed or 
beauty.*' Six thousand guards successively mounted before 
the palace gate ; the service of the interior apartments was 
performed by twelve thousand slaves, and in the number of 
three thousand virgins, the fairest of Asia, some happy 
concubine might console her master for the age or indiffer- 
ence of Sira. The various treasures of gold, silver, gems, 
silks, and aromatics, were deposited in a hundred subterra- 
neous vaults; and the chamber Jiadaverd denoted the acci- 
dental gift of the winds which had wafted the spoils of 
Heraclius into one of the Syrian harbors of his rival. The 
voice of flattery, and perhaps of fiction, is not ashamed to 
compute the thirty thousand rich hangings that adorned 
the walls ; the fo:ty thousand columns of silver, or more 
probably of marble, and plated wood, that supported the 
roof; and the thousand globes of gold suspended in the 
dome, to imitate the motions of the planets and the con- 
stellations of the zodiac. 07 While the Persian monarch 
contemplated the wonders of his art and power, he re- 
ceived an epistle from an obscure citizen of Mecca, inviting 
him to acknowledge Mahomet as the apostle of God. He 
rejected the invitation, and tore the epistle. M It is thus," 
exclaimed the Arabian prophet, "that God will tear the 
kingdom, and reject the supplications of Chosroes." 6i | 

w The difference between the two races consists in one or two humps ; the 
dromedary has only one ; the size of the proper camel is larger, the country he 
comes from, Turkistan or Bactriaua ; the dromedary is confined to Arabia and 
Africa. Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, toni. xi. p. 211, &e. Aristot. Hist. Animal. torn, 
i. 1. ii. C. 1. tom. ii. p. 1K5. 

" 7 TheophaneB, Chronograph- P- 268. D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 
f)!)7. The Greeks describe the decay, the Persians the splendor, of Dastagerd; 
hut the former speak from the modest witness of the eye, the latter from the 
va^ue report of tin; oar. 

r -< The historians of Mahomet, Abulfeda (InVit. Mohammed, pp. 92, o.'rt and 
Ga;nier(Vid de Mahomet, tom. ii. p. 247), date this embassy in the viith year of 
tlw Jie-iii. which commences A. D. 628. May 11. Their chronology is errone- 
ous sin.c ( bosroes died in t lie month of February of the same year (Pagi, 
Critica, tom. Li. p. 779). The count de Boulainvilliers (Vie de Mahomed, p!>. 327, 
3.ISJ p';ir.' this embassy about A. D. 818, soon after the conquest <>f Palestine, 
let Mahomet would scarcely have ventured so soon on so bold a step. 



■ The ruins of these scenes of Rhoosroo'fl magnificence have been visited by 
Sir li. K. Porter. Al the ruins of Tokht 1 Bostan, he saw a gorgeous picture of 
a hunt, singularly illustrative of this pat sage. Travels, vol. ii. p. 204. Kisra 
Bhlrene, which he afterwards examined, appears to lmve been the palace of 
Dastag -id. Vol. ii. pp. 173-178. - M. 

t Khoosroo Purveeswas encamped on the banks of the Karasoo River when 
ho received the letter of Mahomed. He tore the letter and threw it into tho 
Karusoo. For this action the moderate author of the Zeenut-ul-Tuarikh calls 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 85 

Placed on the verge of the two great empires of the East, 
Mahomet observed with secret joy the progress of their 
mutual destruction ; and in the midst of the Persian tri- 
umphs, he ventured to foretell, that before many years 
should elapse, victory would again return to the banners of 
the Romans. 09 

At the time when this prediction is said to have been 
delivered, no prophecy could be more distant from its ac- 
complishment, since the first twelve years of Heraclius an- 
nounced the approaching dissolution of the empire. If the 
motives of Chosroes had been pure and honorable, he must 
have ended the quarrel with the death of Phocas, and he 
would have embraced, as his best ally, the fortunate African 
who had so generouslv avenged the injuries of his benefactor 
Maurice. The prosecution of the war revealed the true 
character of the Barbarian ; and the suppliant embassies of 
Heraclius to beseech his clemency, that he would spare the 
innocent, accept a tribute, and give peace to the world, 
were rejected with contemptuous silence or insolent menace. 
Syria, Egypt, and the provinces of Asia, were subdued by 
the Persian arms, while Europe, from the confines of Tstria 
to the long wall of Thrace, was oppressed by the Avars, 
tin satiated with the blood and rapine of the Italian war. 
They had coolly massacred their male captives in the sacred 
field of Pannonia ; the women and children were reduced 
to servitude, and the noblest virgins were abandoned to the 
promiscuous lust of the Barbarians. The amorous matron 
who opened the gates of Friuli, passed a short night in the 
arms of her royal lover; the next evening, Romilda was 
condemned to the embraces of twelve Avars, and the third 
day the Lombard princess was impaled in the sight of the 
camp, while the chagan observed with a cruel smile, that 
BUCh a husband was the fit recompense of her lewdness and 
perfidy. 70 By these implacable enemies, Heraclius, on either 

61 See the xxxth chapter of the Koran, entitle*! tjie Creek/;. Our honest and 
learned translator, Sale (p. 330, .".31), fairly states this conjecture, guess, wager, 
of Mahomet : but Boulainvilliers (p. 329-344), with wicked intentions, labors to 
establish this evident prophecy of a future event, which must, in his opinion, 
embarnss the Christian polemics. 

7 'Paul Warnefred, de Gestis Langobardorum, 1. iv. c 38,42. Muratori, 
Annali d'ltalia, torn, v p. 308, &c. 

him a wretch, and rejoices in all his subsequent misfortunes. These impres- 
sions still exist. 1 remarked to a Persian, when encamped near the Karasoo. in 
18ft0, that the banks were very high, which must make it difficult to apply its 
wate rs to irrigation. "It once fertilized the whole country." said the zealous 
Mahomn ed; n, " but its channel pnnV with horror from its banks, when that mad- 
man, Khoosroo, threw our holy Prophet's letter into its stream , which has ever 
since been accursed and useless." Malcolm's Persia, vol. i p. 126.— M. 



86 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

side, was insulted and besieged : and the Roman empire 
was reduced to the walls of Constantinople, with the rem- 
nant of Greece, Italy, and Africa, and some maritime cities, 
from Tyre to Trebizond, of the Asiatic coast. After the 
loss of Egypt, the capital was afflicted by famine and pesti- 
lence ; and the emperor, incapable of resistance, and hopeless 
of relief, had resolved to transfer his person and government 
to the more secure residence of Carthage. His ships were 
already laden with the treasures of the palace; but his flight 
was arrested by the patriarch, who armed the powers of 
religion in the defence of his country ; led Heraclius to the 
altar of St. Sophia, and extorted a solemn oath, that he 
would live and die with the people whom God had intrusted 
to his care. The chagan was encamped in the plains of 
Thrace; but he dissembled his perfidious designs, and 
solicited an interview with the emperor near the town of 
Heraclea. Their reconciliation was celebrated with eques- 
trian games ; the senate and people, in their gayest apparel, 
resorted to the festival of peace; and the Avars beheld, 
with envy and desire, the spectacle of Roman luxury. On 
a sudden the hippodrome was encompassed by the Scythian 
cavalry, who had pressed their secret and nocturnal march: 
the tremendous sound of the chagan 's whip gave the signal 
of the assault, and Heraclius, wrapping his diadem round 
his arm, was saved with extreme hazard, by the fleetness of 
his horse. So rapid was the pursuit, that the Avars almost 
entered the golden gate of Constantinople with the flying 
crowds : 71 but the plunder of the suburbs rewarded their 
treason, and they transported beyond the Danube two 
hundred and seventy thousand captives. On the shore of 
Chalcedon, the Emperor held a safer conference with a more 
honorable foe, who, before Heraclius descended from his 
galley, saluted with reverence and pity the majesty of the 
purple. The friendly offer of Sain, the Persian general, to 
conduct an embassy to the presence of the great king, was 
accepted with the warmest gratitude, and the prayer for 
pardon and peace was humbly presented by the Praetorian 
praefect, the prefect of the city, and one of the first eccle- 
siastics of the patriarchal church. 7 ' 2 But the lieutenant of 
Chosroes had fatally mistaken the intentions of his master. 

71 The Paschal Chronicle, which sometimes introduces fragments of history 
into a barren list of names and dates, gives the best account of the treason of 
the Avars, p. 389, 390. The number of "captives is added by Nicephorus. 

72 Some original pieces, such as the speech or letter of the Roman ambassador 
(p. 386-388), likewise constitute the merit of the Paschal Chronicle, which was 
composed, perhaps at Alexandria, under the reign of Heraclius. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 87 

u It was not an embassy," said the tyrant of Asia. " it was 
the person of Heraclius, bound in chains, that he should have 
brought to the foot of my throne. I will never give peace 
to the emperor of Rome, till he has abjured his crucified 
God, and embraced the worship of the sun." Sain was 
flayed alive, according to the inhuman practice of his coun- 
try ; and the separate and rigorous confinement of the am- 
bassadors violated the law of nations, and the faith of an 
express stipulation. Yet the experience of six years at 
length persuaded the Persian monarch to renounce the 
conquest of Constantinople, and to specify the annual tribute 
or ransom of the Roman empire ; a thousand talents of 
gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk robes, a 
thousand horses, and a thousand virgins. Heraclius sub- 
scribed these ignominious terms ; but the time and space 
which he obtained to collect such treasures from the poverty 
of the East, was industriously employed in the preparations 
of a bold and desperate attack. 

Of* the characters conspicuous in history, that of He- 
raclius is one of the most extraordinary and inconsistent. 
In the first and last years of a long reign, the emperor ap- 
pears to be the slave of sloth, of pleasure, or of superstition, 
the careless and impotent spectator of the public calamities. 
But the languid mists of the morning and evening are sep- 
arated by the brightness of the meridian sun: the Arcadius 
of the palace arose the Caesar of the camp ; and the honor 
of Rome and Heraclius was gloriously retrieved by the 
exploits and trophies of six adventurous campaigns. It was 
the duty of the Byzantine historians to have revealed the 
causes of his slumber and vigilance. At this distance we 
can only conjecture, that he was endowed with more 
personal courage than political resolution ; that he was 
detained by the charms, and perhaps the arts, of his niece 
Martina, with whom, after the death of Eudocia, he con- 
tracted an incestuous marriage ;- 73 and that he yielded to 
the base advice of the counsellors, who urged, as a funda- 
mental law, that the life of the emperor should never be 
exposed in the field. 74 Perhaps he was awakened by the 

73 Nicephorus (pp. 10, 11), who brands this marriage with the names of a0t<rixov 
and aQ£jLiToi>, is happy to observe, that of two sons, its incestuous fruit, the 
elder was marked by Providence with a stiff neck, the younger with the loss of 
hearing. 

74 George of Pisidia (Acroas. i. 112-125, p. 5), who states the opinions, acquits 
the pusillanimous counsellors of any sinister views. Would he have excused th ; 
proud and contemptuous admonition of Crispus? "E.TTiOiMmo.tyv ovk (£ov pa.ai.Ati 
e/>ao-K€ KaTaAt/j.7rdi€tv /3G<uA.eia, *:ai Tots iroppio ini ^wpia^en' Svi'aiiecriv. 



88 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

last insolent demand of the Persian conqueror ; but at the 
moment when Heraclius assumed the spirit of a hero, the 
only hopes of the Romans were drawn from the vicissitudes 
of fortune, which might threaten the proud prosperity of 
Chosroes, and must be favorable to those who had attained 
the lowest period of depression. 75 To provide for tr e ex- 
penses of war, was the first care of the emperor; and for 
the purpose of collecting the tribute, he was allowed to 
solicit the benevolence of the eastern provinces. But the 
revenue no longer flowed in the usual channels ; the credit 
of an arbitrary prince is annihilated by his power ; and the 
courage of Heraclius was fi :t displayed in daring to borrow 
the consecrated wealth f c ches, under the solemn vow 
of restoring, with usury wh te er he had been compelled 
to employ in the service cf re gion and of the empire. The 
clergy themselves appear 'o have sympathized with tho 
public distress; and h, disdeet patriarch of Alexandria, 
without admitting the precedent of sacrilege, assisted his 
sovereign by the miraculous or seasonable revJation of a 
secret treasure. 76 Of the soldiers who had conspired with 
Phocas, only two were found to have survived the stroke 
of time and of the Barbarians; 77 the loss, even of these 
seditious veterans, was imperfectly supplied by the new 
levies of Heraclius, and the gold of the sanctuary united, in 
the same camp, the names, and arms, and languages of the 
East and West. He would have been content with the 
neutrality of the Avars ; and his friendly entreaty, that the 
cbagan would act, not as the enemy, but as the guardian, of 
the empire, was accompanied with a more persuasive dona- 
tive of two hundred thousand pieces of gold. Two days 
after the festival of Easter, the emperor, exchanging his 
purple for the simple garb of a penitent and warrior, 78 gavo 

™ Et toL? eir' axpov Jjpjueva? eve£ ias 

Ecr<|)aA/u.eVas \eyovaiU ovk aneiKOTws, 
Keicrdui to Aoi7t6v ev icaicoi? ra neptnSo?, 
'Ai/Tta-rpo^w? 6e, &c. George Pisid. Across, i. 51, &c, p. 4. 
The Orientals are not less fond of remarking this strange vicissitude; and I re- 
member some story of Khosrou Parviz, not very unlike the ring of Polycrates of 
Samos. 

' 6 Baronius gravely relates this discovery, or rather transmutation, of barrels, 
not of honey, but of gold (Annal. Eccles. A. D- G20, No. 3, &c). Yet the loan was 
arbitrary, since it. was collected by soldiers, who were ordered to leave the patri- 
arch of Alexandria no more than one hundred pounds of gold. Nicephorus (p. 
11), two hundred yeai'S afterwards, speaks with ill humor of this contribution, 
which tha church of Constantinople might still feel. 

" Theophvlact- Simocatta, 1. viii. c. 12. This circumstance need not excite 
our surprise. The muster-roll of a regiment, even in time of peace, is renewed 
in less than twenty or twenty-five years. 

18 He changed his purple for black, buskins, and dyed them red in the blood 
of the Persians (Georg. Pisid. Acroas. iii. 118, 121, 122. See the notes of Foggini 
p- 35). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 89 

the signal of his departure. To the faith of the people 
Heraclius recommended his children ; the civil and military 
powers were vested in the most deserving hands, and the 
discretion of the patriarch and senate was authorized to save 
or surrender the city, if they should be oppressed in Ids 
absence by the superior forces of the enemy. 

The neighboring heights of Chalcedon were covered with 
tents and arms : but if the new levies of Heraclius had been 
rashly led to the attack, the victory of the Persians in the 
sight of Constantinople might have been the last day of the 
Roman empire. As imprudent would it have been to ad- 
vance into the provinces of Asia, leaving their innumerable 
cavalry to intercept his convoys, and continually to hang on 
the lassitude and disorder of his rear. But the Greeks were 
still masters of the sea; a fleet of galleys, transports, and 
store-ships, was assembled in the harbor ; the Barbarians 
consented to embark ; a steady wind carried them through 
the Hellespont; the western and southern coast of Asia 
Minor lay on their left hand; the spirit of their chief was 
first displayed in a storm ; and even the eunuchs of his train 
were excited to suffer and to work by the example of their 
master. He landed his troops on the confines of Syria and 
Cilicia, in the Gulf of Scanderoon, where the coast suddenly 
turns to the south; 79 and his discernment was expressed in 
the choice of this important post. 80 From all sides, the 
scattered garrisons of the maritime cities and the mountains 
might repair with speed and safety to his Imperial standard. 
The natural fortifications of Cilicia protected, and even con- 
cealed, the camp of Heraclius, which was pitched near Issus, 
on the same ground where Alexander had vanquished the 
host of Darius. The angle which the emperor occupied was 
deeply indented into a vast semicircle of the Asiatic, Ar- 
menian, and Syrian provinces ; and to whatsoever point of 
the circumference he should direct his attack, it was easy 

70 George of Pisidia (Acroas. ii. 10, p. 8) has fixed this important point of the 
Syrian and Cilician gates. They are elegantly described by Xenophon. who 
marched through them a thousand years before. A narrow pass of three stadia 
between steep, high rocks (n-erpai jjAcPaToi), and the Mediterranean, was closed 
at, each end by strong gates, impregnable to the land (7rapfA0ei"s ovk fjv Bla). acces- 
sible by sea (Anabasis, 1. i. p. 35, 3R, with Hutchinson's Geosrranhical Disserta- 
tion, o. vi). The gates were thirty-five parasamjs. or leagues, from Tarsus (Anal>- 
asis, 1. i. pp. 33. 34), and eight or ten from Antioch romvare Ttinerar. Wessel- 
ing pp. 580, 581. Schultens, Ind<>x Oeojjraph. ad calccm Vit. Saladin. p. 9. Voy- 
age en Turauie et en Perse, par M. Otter, torn, i- pr>. 78, 70. 

F0 Heraclius might write to a friend in the modest words of Cicero : "Castra 
habnimns ea ipsa qure contra Darium habuerat apud Tssum Alexander, impera- 
tOT baud paulo melior quam ant tu aut ego." Ad Atticum, v. 20. Iesne,a rich 
and flourishing city in the time of Xenophon, was ruined by the prosperity of 
Alexandria or Scanderoon, on the other side of the bay. 



90 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

for him to dissemble his own motions, and to prevent those 
of the enemy. In the camp of Issus, the Roman general re- 
formed the sloth and disorder of the veterans, and educated 
the new recruits in the knowledge and practice of military 
virtue. Unfolding the miraculous image of Christ, he urged 
them to revenge the holy altars which had been profaned by 
the worshippers of lire; addressing them by the endearing 
appellations of sons and brethren, he deplored the public 
and private wrongs of the republic. The subjects of a mon- 
arch were persuaded that they fought in the cause of free- 
dom ; and a similar enthusiasm was communicated to the 
foreign mercenaries, who must have viewed with equal in- 
difference the interest of Rome and of Persia. Heraclius 
himself, with the skill and patience of a centurion, incul- 
cated the lessons of the school of tactics, and the soldiers 
were assiduously trained in the use of their weapons, and 
the exercises and evolutions of the field. The cavalry and 
infantry in light or heavy armor were divided into two par- 
ties ; the trumpets were fixed in the centre, and their sig- 
nals directed the march, the charge, the retreat or pursuit ; 
the direct or oblique order, the deep or extended phalanx ; 
to represent in fictitious combat the operations of genuine 
war. Whatever hardships the emperor imposed on the 
troops, he inflicted with equal severity on himself; their 
labor, their diet, their sleep, were measured by the inflexible 
rules of discipline ; and, without despising the enemy, they 
were taught to repose an implicit confidence in their own 
valor and the wisdom of their leader. Cilicia was soon en- 
compassed with the Persian arms ; but their cavalry hesi- 
tated to enter the defiles of Mount Taurus, till they were 
circumvented by the evolutions of Heraclius, who insensibly 
gained their rear, whilst he appeared to present his front in 
order of battle. By a false motion, which seemed to threaten 
Armenia, he drew them, against their wishes, to a general 
action. They were tempted by the artful disorder of his 
camp ; but when they advanced to combat, the ground, the 
sun, and the expectation of both armies, were unpropitious 
to the Barbarians; the Romans successfully repented their 
tactics m a field of battle, 81 and the event of the day de- 
clared to the world that the Persians were not invincible, 
and that a hero was invested with the purple. Strong in 

81 Foggini (Annotat. p 31) suspects that the Persians were deceived by the 
4>d\ay$ Trcn-ArjYM-e^of ./Elian (Tactit. c -!8\ an intricate spiral motion of the army. 
He observes (p. 28) that the military descriptions of George of Pisidia are trans- 
cribed in the Tactics of the emperor Leo. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 91 

victory and fame, Heraclius boldly ascended the heights of 
Mount Taurus, directed his march through the plains of 
Cappadocia, and established his troops, for the winter sea- 
son, in safe and plentiful quarters on the banks of the River 
Halys. 82 His soul was superior to the vanity of entertaining 
Constantinople with an imperfect triumph ; but the presence 
of the emperor was indispensably required to soothe the 
restless and rapacious spirit of the Avars. 

Since the days of Scipio and Hannibal, no bolder enter- 
prise has been attempted than that which Heraclius achieved 
for the deliverance of the empire. 83 He permitted the Per- 
sians to oppress for a while the provinces, and to insult with 
impunity the capital of the East ; while the Roman emperor 
explored his perilous way through the Black Sea, 84 and the 
mountains of Armenia, penetrated into the heart of Persia, 85 
and recalled the armies of the great king to the defence of 
their bleeding country. With a select band of five thousand 
soldiers, Heraclius sailed from Constantinople to Trebizond ; 
assembled his forces which had wintered in the Pontic re- 
gions ; and, from the mouth of the Phasis to the Caspian 
Sea, encouraged his subjects and allies to march with the 
successor of Constantine under the faithful and victorious 
banner of the cross. When the legions of Lucullus and 
Pompey first passed the Euphrates, they blushed at their 
easy victory over the natives of Armenia. But the long ex- 
perience of war had hardened the minds and bodies of that 
effeminate people ; their zeal and bravery were approved in 
the service of a declining empire ; they abhorred and feared 
the usurpation of the house of Sassan, and the memory of 
persecution envenomed their pious hatred of the enemies of 
Christ. The limits of Armenia, as it had been ceded to the 

82 George of Pisidia, an eye-witness (Acroas. ii- 122, &c), described in the three 
acroa.seis, or cantos, the first expedition of Heraclius. The poem has been lately 
(1777) published at Rome ; but such vague and declamatory praise is far from 
corresponding with the sanguine hopes of Pagi, D'Anville, &c. 

83 Thcophanes (p. 256) carries Heraclius swiftly (Kara ra^os) into Armenia. 
Nicephorus (p. 11), though he confounds the two expeditions, defines the province 
of Lazica. Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. p. 231) has given the 5000 men, with the 
more probable station of Trebizond. 

64 From Constantinople to Trebizond, with a fair wind, four or five days ; from 
thence to Erzerom, five ; to Erivan, twelve ; to Taurus, ten ; in all, thirty-two. 
Such is the Itinerary of Tavernier (Voyages, torn. i. p. 12-56), who was perfectly 
conversant with the roads of Asia. Tourncfort, who travelled with a p:tcha, spent 
ten or twelve days between Trebizond and Erzerom (Voyage du Levant, torn. iii. 
lettre xviii.) ; and Chardin (Voyages, torn. i. pp. 2*0-25 i) gives the more correct 
distance of fifty-three parasangs, each of 5000 paces (what paces ?) between Eri- 
van and Tauris. 

85 The expedition of Heraclius into Persia is finely illustrated by M. D'An- 
ville) Memoires de l'Acad6mi •- des Inscriptions, torn, xxviii- pp. 550-573). He 
discovers the situation of Gandzaca, Thebarma, Dastagerd, &c, with admirable 
skill and learning ; but the obscure campaign of 624 he passes over in silence. 



92 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

emperor Maurice, extended as far as the Araxes: the river 
submitted to the indignity of a bridge, 85 and Heraclius, in 
the footsteps of Mark Antony, advanced towards the city of 
Tauris or Gandzaca, 87 the ancient and modern capital of one 
of the provinces of Media. At the head of forty thousand 
men, Chosroes himself had returned from some distant ex- 
pedition to oppose the progress of the Roman arms ; but he 
retreated on the approach of Heraclius, declining the gen- 
erous alternative of peace or of battle. Instead of half a 
million of inhabitants, which have been ascribed to Tauris 
under the reign of the Sophys, the city contained no more 
than three thousand houses ; but the value of the royal 
treasures was enhanced by a tradition, that they were the 
spoils of Croesus, which had been transported by Cyrus 
from the citadel of Sardes. The rapid conquests of Hera- 
clius were suspended only by the winter season ; a motive 
of prudence, or superstition, 88 determined his retreat into 
the province of Albania, along the shores of the Caspian ; 
and his tents were most probably pitched in the plains of 
Mogan, 89 the favorite encampment of Oriental princes. In 
the course of this successful inroad, he signalized the zeal 
and revenge of a Christian emperor : at his command, the 
soldiers extinguished the fire, and destroyed the temples, of 
the Magi : the statues of Chosroes, who aspired to divine 
honors, were abandoned to the flames ; and the ruins of 
Thebarma or Ormia, 90 which had given birth to Zoroaster 

86 Et pontem indignatus Araxes. — Virgil, iEneid, viii. 728. 

The River Araxes is noisy, rapid, vehement, and, with the melting of the 
snows, irresistible : the strongest and most massy bridges are swept away by the 
current ; and its indignation is attested by the ruins of many arches near the old 
town of Zulfa. Voyages de Chardin, torn. i. p. 252. 

sr Chardin, torn. i. pp. 255-259. With the Orientals (D'Herbelot, Biblioth. 
Orient, p. 834), he ascribes the foundation of Tauris, or Tebris, to Zobeide, the 
wife of the famous Khalif Haroun Alrashid ; but it appears to have been more 
ancient ; and the names of Gandzaca Gaza, Gazaca, are expressive of the royal 
treasure. The number of 550,000 inhabitants is reduced by Chardin from 1,1 00,0*00, 
the popular estimate. 

88 He opened the gospel, and applied or interpreted the first casual passage to 
the name and situation of Albania. Theophanes, p. 258- 

89 The heath of Mogan, between the Cyrus and the Araxes, is sixty parasangs 
in length and twenty in breadth (Olearius, pp. 1023, 102 J ), abounding in waters 
and fruitful pastures (Hist, de Nadir Shah, translated l*y Mr. Jones from a Per- 
sian MS., part ii. p. 2, 3). See the encampments of Timur (Hi&t. par Sherefeddin 
Ali, 1. v. c. 37, 1. vi. c. 13), and the coronation of Nadir Shah (Hist. Persanne, pp. 
3-13, and the English Life by Mr. Jones, p. 64, 05). 

so Thebarma and Ormia, near the Lake Spauta, are proved to be the same city 
by D'Anville (Memoires de 1'Academie, torn, xxviii. pp. 501. 565). It is honored 
as the birthplace of Zoroaster, according to the Persians (Schultens, Index Geo- 
graph. p. 48) ; and their tradition is fortified by M. Perron d'Anquetil (Mem. de 
l'Acad. des Inscript. torn. xxxi. p. 375), with Borne texts from his, or their, Zen- 
davesta.* 



* D'Anville (M£m. de l'Acad. des Inscript. torn, xxxii. p. 500) labored to prove 
the identity of these two cities; but, according to M. St. Mariin, vol. xi. p. 97, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 93 

himself, made some atonement for the injuries of the holy 
sepulchre. A purer spirit of religion was shown in the re- 
lief and deliverance of fifty thousand captives. Heraclius 
was rewarded by their tears and grateful acclamations ; but 
this wise measure, which spread the fame of his benevolence, 
diffused the murmurs of the Persians against the pride and 
obstinacy of their own sovereign. 

Amidst the glories of the succeeding campaign, Hera- 
clius is almost lost to our eyes, and to those of the Byzantine 
historians. 91 From the spacious and fruitful plains of 
Albania, the emperor appears to follow the chain of Hyrcan- 
ian Mountains, to descend into the province of Media or 
Irak, and to carry his victorious arms as far as the royal 
cities of Casbin and Ispahan, which had never been approached 
by a Roman conqueror. Alarmed by the danger of his 
kingdom, the powers of Chosroes were already recalled from 
the Nile and the Bosphorus, and three formidable armies 
surrounded, in a distant and hostile land, the cam]) of the 
emperor. The Colchian allies prepared to desert his stand- 
ard ; and the fears of the bravest veterans were expressed, 
rather than concealed, by their desponding silence. " Be 
not terrified," said the intrepid Heraclius, " by the multitude 
of your foes. With the aid of Heaven, one Roman may 
triumph over a thousand Barbarians. But if we devote our 
lives for the salvation of our brethren, we shall obtain the 
crown of martyrdom, and our immortal reward will be 
liberally paid by God and posterity." These magnanimous 
sentiments were supported by the vigor of his actions. He 
repelled the threefold attack of the Persians, improved the 
divisions of their chiefs, and, by a well-concerted train of 
marches, retreats, and successful actions, finally chased them 
from the field into the fortified cities of Media and Assyria. 
In the severity of the winter season, Sarbaraza deemed him- 
self secure in the walls of Salban : he was surprised by the 
activity of Heraclius, who divided his troops, and performed 
a laborious march in the silence of the night. The fiat 
roofs of the houses were defended with useless valor against 

91 I cannot find, and (what is much more), M. D'Anville does mrc attempt to 
seek, the Salban, Tarantum, territory of the Huns, &c, mentioned by Theoph- 
anes (pp. 260-662). Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. pp. 231, 232), an insufficient 
author, names Aaphahan ; and Casbin is most probably the city of Sapor. Ispa- 
han is twenty-four days' journey from Tauris, and Casbin half way between them 
(Voyages de Tavernier, torn. i. pp. 63-82). 



not with perfect success. Ourmiah, called Ariema in the ancient Pehlvi book?, 
is <-onsulered, both by the followers of Zoroaster and by the Mahometans, as hia 
birthplace. It is situated in the southern part of Aderbidjan. — M. 



94 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the darts and torches of the Romans : the satraps and 
nobles of Persia, with their wives and children, and the 
flower of their martial youth, were either slain or made 
prisoners. The general escaped by a precipitate flight, but 
his golden armor was the prize of the conqueror ; and the 
soldiers of Heraclius enjoyed the wealth and repose which 
they had so nobly deserved. On the return of spring, the 
emperor traversed in seven days the mountains of Curd is tan, 
and passed without resistance the rapid stream of the Tigris. 
Oppressed by the weight of their spoils and captives, the 
Roman army halted under the walls of Amida ; and Heraclius 
informed the senate of Constantinople of his safety and sue* 
cess, which they had already felt by the retreat of the be- 
siegers. The bridges of the Euphrates were destroyed by 
the Persians ; but as soon as the emperor had discovered a 
ford, they hastily retired to defend the banks of the Sarus, 92 
in Cilicia. That river, an impetuous torrent, was about three 
hundred feet broad; the bridge was fortified with strong 
turrets ; and the banks were lined with Barbarian archers. 
After a bloody conflict, which continued till the evening, the 
Romans prevailed in the assault ; and a Persian of gigantic 
size was slain and thrown into the Sarus by the hand of the 
emperor himself. The enemies were dispersed and dismayed ; 
Heraclius pursued his march to Sebaste in Cappadocia ; and 
at the expiration of three years, the same coast of the Eux- 
ine applauded his return from a long and victorious expe- 
dition. 93 

Instead of skirmishing on the frontier, the two monarchs 
who disputed the empire of the East aimed their desperate 
strokes at the heart of their rival. The military force of 
Persia was wasted by the marches and combats of twenty 
years, and many of the veterans, who had survived the perils 
of the sword and the climate, were still detained in the for- 
tresses of Egypt and Syria. But the revenge and ambition 
of Chosroes exhausted his kingdom ; and the new levies of 
subjects, strangers, and slaves, were divided into three for- 
midable bodies. 94 The first army of fifty thousand men, illus- 

92 At ten parasangs from Tarsus, the army of the younger Cyrus passed the 
Sarus,* three plethra in breadth; the Pyramus, a stadium in breadth, ran five 
parasanps farther to the enst (Xenophon, Anabas. 1. i. pp. 33, .34). 

*» George of PLMdia (Bell. Abarieum. 246-265, p. 49) celebrates with truth the 
persevering courage of the three campaigns (rpai^ 7repi?pououO against the Per- 
sians. 

W4 Petavius (Aunotationes ad Nicephorum, pp. 62, 63, 64) discriminates the 
names and actions of fiv e Persian generals who were successively sent against 
Heraclius. ° 

* Now the Sihan.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 95 

trious by the ornament and title of the golden spears, was 
destined to march against Heraclius ; the seeond was stationed 
to prevent his junction with the troops of his brother Theodo- 
ras ; and the third was commanded to besiege Constanti- 
nople, and to second the operations of the chagan, with whom 
the Persian king had ratified a treaty of alliance and 
partition. Sarbar, the general of the third army, penetrated 
through the provinces of Asia to the well-known camp of 
Chal cedon, and amused himself with the destruction of the 
sacred and profane buildings of the Asiatic suburbs, while 
he impatiently waited the arrival of his Scythian friends on 
the opposite side of the Bosphorus. On the twenty-ninth of 
June, thirty thousand Barbarians, the vanguard of the Avars, 
forced the long wall, and drove into the capital a promis- 
cuous crowd of peasants, citizens, and soldiers. Fourscore 
thousand 95 of his native subjects, and of the vassal tribes of 
Gepida?, Russians, Bulgarians, and Sclavonians, advanced 
under the standard of the chagan; a month was spent in 
marches and negotiations, but the whole city was invested 
on the thirty-first of July, from the suburbs of Pera and 
Galata to the Blacherna3 and seven towers : and the inhabi- 
tants descried with terror the flaming signals of the European 
and Asiatic shores. In the mean while, the magistrates of 
Constantinople repeatedly strove to purchase the retreat of 
the chagan ; but their deputies were rejected and insulted ; 
and he suffered the patricians to stand before his throne, 
while the Persian envoys, in silk robes, were seated by his 
side. "You see," said the haughty Barbarian, "the proofs 
of my perfect union with the great king; and his lieutenant 
is ready to send into my camp a select band of three thou- 
sand warriors. Presume no longer to tempt your master 
with a partial and inadequate ransom : your wealth and 
your city are the only presents worthy of my acceptance. 
For yourselves, I shall permit you to depart, each with an 
unfler-garment and a shirt; and, at my entreaty, my friend 
Sarbar will not refuse a passage through his lines. Your 
absent prince, even now a captive or a fugitive, has left 
Constantinople to its fate ; nor can you escape the arms of 
the Avars and Persians, unless you could soar into the air 
like birds* unless like fishes you could dive into the waves." 96 

95 This number of eight myriads is specified bv George of Pisidia (Bell. A bar. 
210). The poet (50-F8) clearly indicates that the old chagan lived till the reign of 
Heraclius, and that his son and successor was born of a foreign mother. Yet 
Foggini (Annotat. p. 57) has given another interpretation to this passage. 

96 A bird, a frog, a mouse, and five arrows, had been the present of the Scyth- 
ian king to Darius (Herodot. 1. iv. c. 131, 13U). Su s'.ituez une lettre & cea 



9G THK DECLINE AND FALL 

During ten successive days, the capital was assaulted by the 
Avars, who had made some progress in the science of attack ; 
they advanced to sap or batter the wall, under the cover of 
the impenetrable tortoise; their engines discharged a perpet- 
ual volley of stones and darts; and twelve lofty towers of 
wood exalted the combatants to the height of" the neigh- 
boring ramparts. But the senate and people were animated 
by the spirit of Heraclius, who had detached to their relief 
a body of twelve thousand cuirassiers; the powers of fire 
and mechanics were used with superior art and success in 
the defence of Constantinople ; and the galleys, with two 
and three ranks of oars, commanded the Bosphorus, and 
rendered the Persians the idle spectators of the defeat of 
their allies. The Avars were repulsed ; a fleet of Sclavo- 
nian canoes was destroyed in the harbor ; the vassals of the 
chagan threatened to desert, his provisions were exhausted, 
and after burning his engines, lie gave the signal of a slow 
and formidable retreat. The devotion of the Romans ascribed 
this signal deliverance to the Virgin Mary ; but the mother 
of Chri t would surely have condemned their inhuman mur- 
der of the Persian envoys, who were entitled to the rights 
of humanity, if they were not protected by the laws of 
nations. 97 

After the division of his army, Heraclius prudently re- 
tired to the banks of the Phasis, from whence he main- 
tained a defensive war against the fifty thousand gold spears 
of Persia. His anxiety was relieved by the deliverance of 
Constantinople ; his hopes were confirmed by a victory of 
Ins brother Theodorus ; and to the hostile league of Chos- 
roes with the Avars, the Roman emperor opposed the use- 
ful and honorable alliance of the Turks. At his liberal in- 
vitation, the horde of Chozars 98 transported their tents from 

signes (says "Rousseau, with much good ta^te) plus elle sera menacante moins elle 
eifrayera; ce ue sera qu'une fanfarronadedout Darius u'eut fait que lire (Emile, 
torn. iii. p. 146). Yet 1 much question whether the senate and people of Constan- 
tinople laur/fierf at this message, of the chagan. 

97 The Paschal Chronicle (pp. 392-397) gives a minute and authentic narrative 
of the siege and deliverance of Constantinople. Theophanes (p. 2(>4) adds some 
circumstances ; and a faint light may be obtained from the smoke of George of 
Pisidia, who has composed a poem (de Bello Abarico. pp. 45-54) to commemorate 
this auspicious event. 

Us The power of thd Chozars prevailed in tiie viith, viiith, and ixth centuries. 
They were known to the Creeks, the Ara s, and under the name of A'osct. to the 
Chinese themselves. DeGuignes, Hist, des Huns, torn. ii. part. ii. pp- 507-509.* 



* Moses of Choreue speaks of an invasion of Armenia by the Rhazars in the 
second century, 1. ii. c. 62. M. St. Martin suspects them to be the same with the 
Hunnish nation of the Acatires or Agazzires. They are called by the Greek his- 
torians F?<stern Turks; like the Madjars and other Hunnish or Finnish tribes, 
they had probably received some admixture from the genuine Turkish races. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 97 

the plains of the Volga to the mountains of Georgia; 
Heraclius received them in the neighborhood of Teflis, and 
the khan with his nobles dismounted from their horses, if 
we may credit the Greeks, and fell prostratq on the ground, 
to adore the purple of the Caesars. Such voluntary homage 
and important aid were entitled to the warmest acknowledg- 
ments ; and the emperor, taking off his own diadem, placed 
it on the head of the Turkish prince, whom he saluted with 
a tender embrace and the appellation of son. After a 
sumptuous banquet, he presented Ziebel with the plate and 
ornaments, the gold, the gems, and the silk, which had been 
used at the Imperial table, and, with his own hand, dis- 
tributed rich jewels and ear-rings to his new allies. In a 
secret interview, he produced the portrait of his daughter 
Eudocia," condescended to natter the Barbarian with the 
promise of a fair and august bride ; obtained an immediate 
succor of forty thousand horse, and negotiated a strong di- 
version of the Turkish arms on the side of the Oxus. 100 The 
Persians, in their turn, retreated with precipitation ; in the 
camp of Edessa, Heraclius reviewed an army of seventy 
thousand Romans and strangers; and some months were 
successfully employed in the recovery of the cities of Syria, 
Mesopotamia, and Armenia, whose fortifications had been 
imperfectly restored. Sarbar still maintained the impor- 
tant station of Chalcedon ; but the jealousy of Chosroes, or 
the artifice of Heraclius, soon alienated the mind of that 
powerful satrap from the service of his king and country. 
A messenger was intercepted with a real or fictitious man- 
date to the cadarigan, or second in command, directing him 
to send, without delay, to the throne, the head of a guilty or 
unfortunate general. The despatches were transmitted to 
Sarbar himself ; and as soon as he read the sentence of his 
own death, he dexterously inserted the names of four hum 

09 Epiphania, or Eudocia, the only daughter of Heraclius and nis first wife 
Eudocia, was born at Constantinople on the 7th of July. A. 1)- 611, baptized the 
15th of August, and crowned (in the oratory of St. Stephen in th^ palace) the 
4th of October of the same year. At this time she was about fifteen. Eudocia 
was afterwards sent to her Turkish husband, but the news of his death stopped 
her journey, and prevented the consummation, (Ducange, Familiaj Byzantin. p. 
118). 

100 Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, pp. 13-16) gives some curious and probable facts: 
but hi-i numbersare rather too high— 300,000 Romans assembled at Edossa— 560,000 
Persians killed at Nineveh. The abatement of a cipher is scarcely enough to 
restore his sanity. 

Ibn. Hankal (Oriental Geography) says that their language was like the Bulga- 
rian, and considers them a people of Finnish or Hunnish race. Klaproth, Tabl. 
Hist. pp. 268-273. Abel Kemusat, Rech. sur lea Langues Tartares, torn. i. pp. 316, 
316. St. Martin, vol. xi. p. llo.— M. •-•■.. 

Vol. IV.— 7 



98 TIIE DECLINE AND FALL 

dred officers, assembled a military council, and asked the 
ca'darigan whether he was prepared to execute the com- 
mands of their tyrant. The Persians unanimously declared, 
that Chosroes had forfeited the sceptre ; a separate treaty 
was concluded with the government of Constantinople ; and 
if some considerations of honor or policy restrained Sarbar 
from joining the standard of Heraclius, the emperor was 
assured that he might prosecute, without interruption, his 
designs of victory and peace. 

Deprived of his firmest support, and doubtful of the 
fidelity of his subjects, the greatness of Chosroes was still 
conspicuous in its ruins. The number of live hundred 
thousand may be interpreted as an Oriental metaphor, to 
describe the men and arms, the horses and elephants, that 
covered Media and Assyria against the invasion of Herac- 
lius. Yet the Romans boldly advanced from the Araxes to 
the Tigris, and the timid prudence of Rhazates was content 
to follow them by forced marches through a desolate coun- 
try, till he received a peremptory mandate to risk the fate 
of Persia in a decisive battle. Eastward of the Tigris, at 
the end of the bridge of Mosul, the great Nineveh had 
formerly been erected : 101 the city and even the ruins of the 
c:ty had long since disappeared : 102 the vacant space af- 
forded a spacious field for the operations of the two armies. 
But these operations are neglected by the B^yzantine his- 
torians, and, like the authors of epic poetry and romance, 
they ascribe the victory, not to the military conduct, but to 
the personal valor, of their favorite hero. On this memo- 
rable day, Heraclius, on his horse Phallas, surpassed the 
bravest of his warriors : his lip was pierced with a spear ; 
the steed was wounded in the thigh ; but he carried his 
master safe and victorious through the triple phalanx of the 
Barbarians. In the heat of the action, three valiant chiefs 
were successively slain by the sword and lance of the em- 
peror • among these were Rhazates himself ; he fell like 
a soldier, but the sight of his head scattered grief and de- 

101 Ctesias(apud Diodor. Sicul. torn. i. 1. ii. p. 115, edit. Wesseling) assigns 480 sta- 
dia (perhaps only 32 miles) for the circumference of Nineveh. Jonas talks of 
three days' journey : the 120,000 persons described by the prophet as incapable 
of discerning their right hand from their left, may afford about 700,000 persons 
of all ages for the inhabitants of that ancient capital (Goguet, Originer. des Loix, 
&c, torn. iii. part i. pp. 02, 93), which ceased to exist 600 years before Christ. . The 
western suburb still subsisted, and is mentioned under the name of Mosul in 
the lirst age of the Arabian khalifs. 

112 Niebuhr (Voyage en Arabie, &c., torn. ii. p. 280) passed over Nineveh with- 
out perceiving jt. He mistook for a ridge of hills the old rampart of brick or 
earth. H is said to have been 100 feet high flanked with 1500 towers, each of the 
height of 200 feet. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 99 

spair through the fainting ranks of the Persians, His armor 
of pure and massy gold, the shield of one hundred and 
twenty plates, the sword and belt, the saddle and cuirass, 
adorned the triumph of Heraclius ; and if he had not been 
faithful to Christ and his mother, the champion of Rome 
might have offered the fourth opime spoils to the Jupiter of 
the Capitol. 103 In the battle of Nineveh, which was fiercely 
fought from daybreak to the eleventh hour, twenty-eight 
standards, besides those which might be broken or torn, 
were taken from the Persians ; the greatest part of their 
army was cut in pieces, and the victors, concealing their 
own loss, passed the night on the field. They acknowl- 
edged, that on this occasion it was less difficult to kill than 
to discomfit the soldiers of Chosroes ; amidst the bodies of 
their friends, no more than two bow-shot from the enemy, the 
remnant of the Persian cavalry stood firm till the seventh 
hour of the night ; about the eight hour they retired to their 
unrifled camp, collected their baggage, and dispersed on 
all sides, from the want of orders rather than of resolution. 
The diligence of Heraclius was not less admirable in the 
use of victory ; by a march of forty-eight miles in four- 
and-twenty hours, his vanguard occupied the bridges of 
the great and the lesser Zab ; and the cities and palaces of 
Assyria were open for the first time to the Romans. By a 
just gradation of magnificent scenes, they penetrated to the 
royal seat of Dastagerd,* and, though much of the treasure 
had been removed, and much had been expended, the re- 
maining wealth appears to have exceeded their hopes, and 
even to have satiated their avarice. Whatever could not 
be easily transported, they consumed with fire, that Chos- 
roes might feel the anguish of those wounds which he had 
so often inflicted on the provinces of the empire: and jus- 
tice might allow the excuse, if the desolation had been con- 
fined to the works of regal luxury, if national hatred, mili- 
tary license, and religious zeal, had not wasted with equal 
rage the habitations and the temples of the guiltless subject. 
The recovery of three hundred Roman standards, and the 

103 Rex regia arma fero (says Romulus, in the first consecration) .... bina 
postea (continues Livy, i. 10) inter tot bella, opima part a sunt spolia, ade.o rara 
ejus fortnna decoris. * If Varro (apud Pomp. Festum, p. 306, edit. Uacier) could 
justify his liberality in jvaniing the opime spoils even to a common soldier who 
had slain the king or general of the enemy, the honor would have been much 
more cheap and common. 



* Macdonald Kiimeir places Hastagerd at Kaer e SMtivi, the palace of Sira on 
the banks of the Diala between llol.\an and Kanab e. Iviuneir Geograph. Mem 



p. 306.— M. 



100 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

deliverance of the numerous captives of Edessa and Alex- 
andria, reflect a purer glory on the arms of Heraelius. From 
the palace of Dastagerd, he pursued his march within a few 
miles of Modain or Ctesiphon, till he was stopped, on 
the banks of the Arba, by the difficulty of the passage, the 
rigor of the season, and perhaps the fame of an impregnable 
capital. The return of the emperor is marked by the 
modern name of the city of Sherhzour : he fortunately 
passed Mount Zara, before the snow, which fell incessantly 
thirty-four days: and the citizens of Gandzaca,or Tauris, 
were compelled to entertain his soldiers and their horses 
with a hospitable reception. 104 

When the ambition of Chosroes was reduced to the de- 
fence of his hereditary kingdom, the love of glory, or even 
the sense of shame, should have urged him to meet his rival 
in the field. In the battle of Xineveh, his courage might 
have taught the Persians to vanquish, or he might have fallen 
with honor by the lance of a Roman emperor. The succes- 
sor of Cyrus chose rather, at a secure distance, to expect the 
event, to assemble the relics of the defeat, and to retire, by 
measured steps, before the march of Heraelius, till he beheld 
with a sigh the once loved mansions of Dastagerd. Both 
his friends and enemies were persuaded, that it was the in- 
tention of Chosroes to bury himself under the ruins of the 
city and palace : and as both might have been equally ad- 
verse to his flight, the monarch of Asia, with Sira,* and 
three concubines, escaped through a hole in the wall nine 
days before the arrival of the Romans. The slow and state- 
ly procession in which he showed himself to the prostrate 
crowd, was changed to a rapid and secret journey ; and the 
first evening lie lodged in the cottage of a peasant, whose 
humble door would scarcely give admittance to the great 
king. 105 His superstition was subdued by fear : on the third 
day, he entered with joy the fortilications of Ctesiphon ; yet 

m In dpscribing this last expedition of Iieraelius, the facts, the places, and 
the. dates of Theophanes (pp, 265-271) are so accurate and authentic, that he mus^ 
have followed the original letters of the emperor, of which the Paschal chroni- 
ele has preserved (pp. 398 KB) a very curious specimen. 

"'■' , The words of Theophanes arc remarkable : eiaJjAfley Xocrporj? <i? oi*o^ 
ytatpyov /A>)6a,jui'ou filivau, (J.0A1? \uipr)&tls if r' t rovrov $vpa,r)f iiitv ct\citoi- il 
Aeto? i9.x-jp.aaev (p. (268), Young princes who discover a propensity to war should 
repeatedly transcribe and translate such salutary texts. 



■ The Schirin of Persian poetry. The love of Ghosrnand Schlrln rivals in Per- 
Bi.-in romance that of Joseph with Znleika the wife of Potiphar, of Solomon with 
the Queen of Sheba, and that of Mejuoun and Leila. The number of Persian 
poems on the subject may be seen in M. von Hammer's preface to his poem of 
Schir.n. — M. • 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 1C1 

he still doubted of his safety till he had opposed the River 
Tigris to the pursuit of the Romans. The discovery of his 
night agitated with terror and tumult the palace, the city, 
and the camp of Dastagerd : the satraps hesitated whether 
they had most to fear from their sovereign or the enemy ; 
and the females of the harem were astonished and pleased 
by the sight of mankind, till the jealous husband of three 
thousand wives again confined them to a more distant castle. 
At his command, the army of Dastagerd retreated to a new 
camp ; the front was covered by the Arba, and a Y\ne of two 
hundred elephants ; the troops of the more distanfrprovinces 
successively arrived, and the vilest domestics of the king 
and satraps were enrolled for the last defence of the throne. 
It was still in the power of Chosroes to obtain a reasonable 
peace ; and he was repeatedly pressed by the messengers of 
Heraclius to spare the blood of his subjects, and to relieve 
a humane conqueror from the painful duty of carrying fire 
and sword through the fairest countries of Asia. But the 
pride of the Persian had not yet sunk to the level of his 
fortune ; he derived a momentary confidence from the retreat 
of the emperor; he wept with impotent rage over the ruins 
of his Assyrian palaces, and disregarded too long the rising 
murmurs of the nation, who complained that their lives and 
fortunes were sacrificed to the obstinacy of an old man. 
That unhappy old man was himself tortured with the sharp- 
est pains both of mind and body ; and, in the consciousness 
of his approaching end, he resolved to fix the tiara on the 
head of Merdaza, the most favored of his sons. But the 
will of Chosroes was no longer revered, and Siroes,* who 
gloried in the rank and merit of his mother Sira, had con- 
spired with the malecontents to assert and anticipate the 
lights of primogeniture. 100 Twenty-two satraps (they styled 
themselves patriots) were tempted by the wealth and honors 
of a new reign : to the soldiers, the heir of Chosroes prom- 
ised an increase of pay ; to the Christians, the free exercise 
of their religion ; to the captives, liberty and rewards ; and 
to the nation, instant peace and the reduction of taxes. It 
was determined by the conspirators, that Siroes, with the 
ensigns of royalty, should appear in the camp ; and if the 

106 The authentic narrative of the fall of Chosroes is contained in the letter 
of HeracliiiH ((,'hron. Paschal. \>. 888) and the history of Theophanes (p. 271). 



* His name was Kahad (as appears from an official letter in the Paschal Chron- 
icle, (). 402). St. Martin consider! tin: name Siro<-s, Schirouieb or Schlnvcr, 
derived from the word schii, royal. St. Martin, xi. 1513.— M- 



102 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

enterprise should fail, his escape was contrived to the Im- 
perial court. But the new monarch was saluted with unan- 
imous acclamations ; the flight of Chosroes (yet where could 
he have fled?) was rudely arrested, eighteen sons were 
massacred * before his face, and he was thrown into a dun- 
geon, where he expired on the fifth day. The Greeks and 
modern Persians minutely describe how Chosroes was in- 
sulted, and famished, and tortured, by the command of an 
inhuman son, who so far surpassed the example of his father : 
but at the time of his death, what tongue would relate the 
story of the parricide ? what eye could penetrate into the 
toicer of darkness? According to the faith and mercy of 
his Christian enemies, he sunk without hope into a still 
deeper abyss ; m and it will not be denied, that tyrants of 
every age and sect are the best entitled to such infernal 
abodes. The glory of the house of Sassan ended with the 
life of Chosroes; his unnatural son enjoyed only eight months 
the fruit of his crimes : and in the space of four years, the 
regal title was assumed by nine candidates, who disputed, 
with the sword or dagger, the fragments of an exhausted 
monarchy. Every province, and each city of Persia, was 
the scene of independence, of discord, and of blood ; and 
the state of anarchy prevailed about eight years longer, t till 
the factions were silenced and united under the common 
yoke of the Arabian caliphs. 108 

As soon as the mountains became passable, the emperor 
received the welcome news of the success of the conspiracy, 

107 On the first rumor of the death of Chosroes, an Heracliad in two cantos 
was instantly published at Constantinople by George of Pisidia (pp. 97. 105). A 
priest and a poet might very properly exult in the damnation of the public enemy 
(efxneaiov tu> Taprdpixy, v. 56) ' but such mean revenge is unworthy of a king and a 
conqueror ; and I aia sorry to find so much black superstition (^eo/oidxos Xoo-porj? 

eneaev kcu enrcJixavKrOr) ei? ra Kara\66pt.a .... ets to nip to aKaraofiecFTOv, &C), ill 

the letter of Heraclius ; he almost applauds the parricide of Siroes as an act of 
piety and justice.! 

ios The best Oriental accounts of this last period of the Sassanian kings are 
found in Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. pp. 251-256), who dissembles the parricide 
of Siroes, D'Herbelot (Bibliotheque Orientale, p. 789), and Assemanni (Bibliothec. 
Oriental, torn. iii. pp. 415-420). 



* According to Le Beau, this massacre was perpetrated at Mahuza in Babylo- 
nia, not in the presence of Chosroes. The Syrian historian, Thomas of Maraga, 
gives Chosroes twenty-four sons ; Mirkhond (translated by I)e Sacy) fifteen ; the 
ir. edited Modjmel-alte-warikh, agreeing with Gibbon, eighteen, with their names. 
Le Beau and St. Martin, xi 146.— M. 

t The Mahometans show no more charity towards the memory of Chosroes 
or Khoosroo Purveez. All his reverses are ascribed to the just indignation of 
God upon a monarch who had dared, with impious and accursed hands, to tear 
the iettei of the Holy Prophet Mahomed. Compare note, p. 231. — M. 

% Yet Gibbon himself places the flight and death of Yesdegird III., the last 
king ot Persia, in 651. The famous era of Yesdegird dates from his accession, 
June 16, 632.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 103 

the death of Chosroes, and the elevation of his eldest son to 
the throne of Persia. The authors of the revolution, eager; 
to display their merits in the court or camp of Tauris, pre- 
ceded the ambassadors of Siroes, who delivered the letters 
of their master to his brother the emperor of the Romans. 109 
In the language of the usurpers of every age, he imputes his 
own crimes to the Deity, and, without degrading his equal 
majesty, he offers to reconcile the long discord of the two 
nations, by a treaty of peace and alliance more durable than 
brass or iron. The conditions of the treaty were easily do- 
fined and faithfully executed. In the recovery of the stand- 
ards and prisoners which had fallen into the hands of the 
Persians, the emperor imitated the example of Augustus: 
their care of the national dignity was celebrated by the 
poets of the times, but the decay of genius maybe measured 
by the distance between Horace and George of Pisidia : the 
subjects and brethren of Heraclius were redeemed from per- 
secution, slavery, and exile ; but, instead of the Roman 
eagles, the true wood of the holy cross was restored to the 
importunate demands of the successor of Constantine. The 
victor was not ambitious of enlarging the weakness of the 
empire ; the son of Chosroes abandoned without regret the 
conquests of his father ; the Persians who evacuated the 
cities of Syria and Egypt were honorably conducted to the 
frontier, and a war which had wounded the vitals of the 
two monarchies, produced no change in their external and 
relative situation. The return of Heraclius from Tauris to 
Constantinople was a perpetual triumph ; and after the ex- 
ploits of six glorious campaigns, he peaceably enjoyed the 
Sabbath of his toils. After a long impatience, the senate, 
the clergy, and the people, went forth to meet their hero, 
with tears and acclamations, with olive branches and innu- 
merable lamps : he entered the capital in a chariot drawn by 
four elephants ; and as soon as the emperor could disengage 
himself from the tumult of public joy, he tasted more genuine 
satisfaction in the embraces of his mother and his son. 110 

">'■> The letter of Siroes in the Paschal Chronicle (p. 402) unfortunately ends 
before he proceeds to business.* The treaty appears in its execution in the histo- 
ries of Theophanes and Nicephorus. 

ho The burden of Corneille's song, 

H Montrez Heraclius au peuple qui l'attend," 
is much better suited to the present occasion. See his triumph in Theophanes 
(pp. 272, 273) and Nicephorus (pp. 15, 16). The life of the mother and tenderness 
of the son are attested by George of Pisidia (Bell. Abar. 255, &c., p. 49). The 
metaphor of the Sabbath is used somewhat profanely by these Byzantine Chris- 
tians. _ 

• M. Mai, Script. Vet. Nova Collectio, vol. i. P. 2, p. 223, has added some lines 
but no clear senBe can be made o - it of the fragment — M. 



104 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The succeeding year was illustrated by a triumph of a 
very different kind, the restitution of the true cross to the 
holy sepulchre. Heraclius performed in person the pil- 
grimage of Jerusalem, the identity of the relic was verified 
by the discreet patriarch, 111 and this august ceremony lias 
been commemorated by the annual festival of the exaltation 
of the cross. Before the emperor presumed to tread the 
consecrated ground, he was instructed to strip himself of the 
diadem and purple, the pomp and vanity of the world : but 
in the judgment of his clergy, the persecution of the Jews 
was more easily reconciled with the precepts of the gospel.* 
He again ascended his throne to receive the congratulations 
of the ambassadors of France and India; and the fame of 
Moses, Alexander, and Hercules, 112 was eclipsed, in the pop- 
ular estimation, by the superior merit and glory of the great 
Heraclius. Yet the deliverer of the East was indigent and 
feeble. Of the Persian spoils, the most valuable portion 
had been expended in the war, distributed to the soldiers, 
or buried, by an unlucky tempest, in the waves of the Eux- 
ine. The conscience of the emperor was oppressed by the 
obligation of restoring the wealth of the clergy, which he 
had borrowed for their own defence; a perpetual fund was- 
required to satisfy these inexorable creditors ; the provinces, 
already wasted by the arms and avarice of the Persians, 
were compelled to a second payment of the same taxes ; 
and the arrears of a simple citizen, the treasurer of Damas- 
cus, were commuted to a fine of one hundred thousand 
pieces of gold. The loss of two hundred thousand sol- 
dierb 113 who had fallen by the sword, was of less fatal im- 
portance than the decay of arts, agriculture, and popula- 

i" See Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D. 628, No. 1-4). Eutychius (Annal. toni. 
ii. pp. 240-248), Nicephor 1 ^ (Brev. p. 15). The seal of the case had never b^en 
broken ; and this preservation of the cross is ascribed (under God) to the devotion 
of Queen Sira. 

"■* George of Pisidia, Acroas. iii. de Expedit. contra Persas, 415, &c, and 
Heracleid. Acroas. i. G5-1 38. I neglect the meaner parallels of Daniel, Timo- 
theus. &c. , Chosroes and the chagan were of course compared to Belshazzar, 
Pharaoh, the old serpent* &c. 

"3 Suidas (in Excerpt. Hist. Byzant. p. 46) gives this number ; but either the 
Persian must be read for the Jsaurian war, or this passage does not belong to the 
emperor Heraclius. 

* If the clergy imposed upon the kneeling and penitent emperor the persecu- 
tion of the Jews, it must be acknowledged that provocation was not wanting : tor 
how many of them had been eye-witnesses of, perhaps sufferers in, the horrible 
atrocities committed on the capture of the city. Yet we have no authentic ac- 
count of great severities exercised by Heraclius The law of Hadrian was re- 
enacted, which prohibited the Jews from approaching within three miles ot the 
citv-a law, which, in the present exasperated state of the Christians, might be a 
measure of security or mercy, rather than ox oppression. M);inan Hist, ol.dews 
iii. 242.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 105 

tion, in this long and destructive war : and although a 
victorious army had been formed under the standard of Her- 
aclius, the unnatural effort appears to have exhausted rather 
than exercised their strength. While the emperor triumphed 
at Constantinople or Jerusalem, an obscure town on the con- 
fines of Syria was pillaged by the Saracens, and they cut in 
pieces some troops who advanced to its relief ; an ordinary 
and trifling occurrence, had it not been the prelude of a 
mighty revolution. These robbers -were the apostles of Ma- 
homet ; their fanatic valor had emerged from the desert, 
and id the last eight years of his reign, Heraclius lost to the 
Arabs the same provinces which he had rescued from the 
Persians. 



106 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

THEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNA- 
TION. THE HUMAN AND DIVINE NAT J RE OF CHRIST. 

ENMITY OF THE PATRIARCHS OF A! EX ANDRIA AND CON- 
STANTINOPLE. ST. CYRIL AND NESTORIUS. THIRD GEN- 
ERAL COUNCIL OF EPHESUS. HERESY OF EUTYCHES. 

FOURTH GENERAL COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON. CIVIL AND 

ECCLESIASTICAL DISCORD. INTOLERANCE OF*JUSTINIAN. 

THE THREE CHAPTERS. THE MONOTHELITE CONTRO- 
VERSY. STATE OF THE ORIENTAL SECTS : 1. THE NES- 

TOKIANS. II. THE JACOBITES. III. THE MARONITES. 

IV. THE ARMENIANS. THE COPTS AND ABYSSINIANS. 

After the extinction of paganism, the Christians in 
peace and piety might have enjoyed their solitary triumph. 
But the principle of discord was alive in their bosom, and 
they were more solicitous to explore the nature, than to 
practice the laws, of their founder. I have already observed, 
that the disputes of the Trinity were succeeded by those of 
the Incarnation; alike scandalous to the church, alike per- 
nicious to the state, still more minute in their origin, still 
more durable in their effects. It is my design to comprise 
in the present chapter a religious war of two hundred and 
fifty years, to represent the ecclesiastical and political 
schism of the Oriental sects, and to introduce their clamor- 
ous or sanguinary contests, by a modest inquiry into the 
doctrines of the primitive church. 1 

1 By what means shall I authenticate this previous inquiry, which I have 
studied to circumscribe and compress? — If I persist in supporting each fact or 
reflection by its proper and special evidence, every line would demand a string 
of testimonies, and every note would swell to a critical dissertation. But the 
numberless passages of antiquity which I have seen with my own eyes, are com- 
piled, digested, and illustrated by Petavms and he Clerc, by Beausoore and Mos- 
hehn. I shall be content to fortify my narrative by the names and characters of 
these respectable guides ; and in the contemplation of a minute or remote ob- 
ject, I am not ashamed to borrow the aid of the strongest glasses: 1. The Doy- 
mata 7'heoloriica of Petavius are a work of incredible labor and compass; the 
volumes which relate solely to the Incarnation (two folios, vth and vith, of 8.">7 
pages) are divided into xvi. books — the first of history, the remainder of contro- 
versy and doctrine. The Jesuit's learning is copious and correct; his Latinity 
is pure, his method clear, his argument profound and well connected ; but he is 
the slave of the fathers, the scourge of heretics, and the enemy of truth and can- 
dor, as often as they are inimical to the Catholic cause. 2. The Arminian Le 
Clerc, who has composed in a quarto volume (Amsterdam, 1716) the ecclesiastical 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 107 

I. A laudable regard for the honor of the first prose- 
lytes has countenanced the belief, the hope, the wish, that 
the Ebionites, or at least the Nazarenes, were distinguished 
only by their obstinate perseverance in the practice of the 
Mosaic rites. Their churches have disappeared, their books 
are obliterated ; their obscure freedom might allow a lati- 
tude of faith, and the softness of their infant creed would 
be variously moulded by the zeal or prudence of three hun- 
dred years. Yet the most charitable criticism must refuse 
these sectaries any knowledge of the pure and proper divin- 
ity of Christ. Educated in the school of Jewish prophecy 
and prejudice, they had never been taught to elevate their 
hopes above a human and temporal Messiah. 2 If they had 
courage to hail their king when he appeared in a plebeian 
garb, their grosser apprehensions were incapable of discern- 
ing their God, who had studiously disguised his coelestial 
character under the name and person of a mortal. 3 The 
familiar companions of Jesus of Nazareth conversed with 
their friend and countryman, who, in all the actions of ra- 

history of the two first centuries, was free both in his temper and situation , his 
sense is clear, but his thoughts are narrow ; he reduces the reason or folly of 
ages to the standard of his private judgment, and his impartiality is sometimes 
quickened, and sometimes tainted by his opposition to the fathers. See the 
heretics (Cerinthians, l\xx. Ebionites, ciii. Carpocratians, cxx. Valentinians, 
cxxi. Basilidians, cxxiii. Marcionites, cxli., &c.) under their proper dates. 3. 
The Histoire Critique du Manicheisme Amsterdam, 1734, 1739, in 2 vols, in 4to., 
with a posthumous dissertation sur les Nazarenes, Lausanne. 1745) of M. de 
Beausobre is a treasure of ancient philosophy and theology. The learned histo- 
rian spins with incomparable art the systematic thread of opinion, and trans- 
forms himself by turns into the person of a saint, a sage, or a heretic. Yet his 
refinement is sometimes excessire : he betrays an amiable partiality in favor of 
the weaker side, and. while he guards against calumny, he does not allow suffi- 
cient scope for superstition and fanaticism. A copious table of contents will di- 
rect the reader to any point that he wishes to examine. 4. Less profound than 
Petavius, less independent than Le Clerc, less ingenious than Beausobre. the his- 
torian Mosheim is full, rational, correct, and moderate. In his learned work, De 
Rebus Christianis ante Constantinum (Helmstadt, 1753, in 4to.), seethe Nazarenes 
and Ebionites, pp. 172, 179-328-332. The Gnostics in general, p. 179, &c. Cerinthus, 
pp. 196-202. Basilides pp. 352-361. Carpocrates, pp. 363-367. Valentinus, pp. 371- 
389. Mareion, pp. 404-410. The Manichjeans, pp. 829-837, &c. 

2 Keu yap ndvTes rj^eis Tor XpicrTov, avOpwrroi* e£ av9pu>TTu)i> npocrSoKWfj.ei' yevrjcrevQai, 
gays the Jew Tryphon (Justin. Dialog, p. 207 *■) in the name of his countrymen ; 
and the modern Jews, the few who divert their thoughts from money to religion, 
still hold the same language, and allege the literal sense of the prophets. t 

3 Chrysostom (Basnage, Hist, des Juifs, torn. v. c. 9, p. 183) and Athanasius 
(Petav. Dogmat. Theolog. torn. v. 1. i. c. 2. p. 3) are obliged to confess that the 
divinity of Christ is rarely mentioned by himself or his apostles. 



* See on this passage Bp. Kaye, Justin Martyr, n. 25.— M. 

t Most of the modern writers, who have closely examined this subject, and 
■who will not be suspect ed of any theological bias, Rosen m filler on Isaiah ix. 5, and 
on Psalm xlv. 7, and Bertholdt, Ohristologia Judax>runi, c. xx., rightly ascribe 
much higher notions of the Messiah to the Jews. In fact, the dispute seems to 
rest on the notion that there was a definite and authorized notion of the Messiah, 
among the Jews, whereas it was probably so vngue, as to admit every shade of 
difference, from the vulgar expectation of a mere temporal king, to the philo- 
sophic notion of an emanation from the Deity.— M. 



108 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tional and animal life, appeared of the same species with 
themselves. His progress from infancy to youth and man- 
hood was marked by a regular increase in stature and wis- 
dom ; and after a painful agony of mind and body, he ex- 
pired on the cross. He lived and died for the service of 
mankind ; but the life and death of Socrates had likewise 
been devoted to the cause of religion and justice ; and al- 
though the stoic or the hero may disdain the humble virtues 
of Jesus, the tears which he shed over his friend and coun- 
try may be esteemed the purest evidence of his humanity. 
The miracles of the gospel could not astonish a people who 
held with intrepid faith the more splendid prodigies of the 
Mosaic law. The prophets of ancient days had cured dis- 
eases, raised the dead, divided the sea, stopped the sun, and 
ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot. And the metaphori- 
cal style of the Hebrews might ascribe to a saint and martyr 
the adoptive title of Son of God. 

Yet in the insufficient creed of the Nazarenes and the 
Ebionites, a distinction is faintly noticed between the here- 
tics, who confounded the generation of Christ in the com- 
mon order of nature, and the less guilty schismatics, who 
revered the virginity of his mother, and excluded the aid of 
an earthly father. The incredulity of the former was coun- 
tenanced by the visible circumstances of his birth, the legal 
marriage of the reputed parents, Joseph and Mary, and his 
lineal claim to the kingdom of David and the inheritance of 
Judah. But the secret and authentic history has been re- 
corded in several copies of the Gospel according to St. Mat- 
thew, 4 which these sectaries long preserved in the original 
Hebrew, 5 as the sole evidence of their faith. The natural 

4 The two first chapters of St. Matthew did not exist in the Ebionite copies 
(Epiphan. Haeres. xxx. 13) ; and the miraculous conception is one of the last arti- 
cles which Dr. Priestley has curtailed from his scanty creed.* 

'•> It is probable enough that the first of the gospels for the use of the Jewish 
converts was composed m the Hebrew or Syriac idiom : the fact is attested by a 
chain of fathers — Papias, Irenaeus, Origen, Jerom. &c. It is devoutly believed by 
the Catholics, and admitted by Casaubon, Grotius, and Isaac Vossius. among the 
Protestant critics. But this Hebrew gospel of St. Matthew is most unaccount- 
ably lost ; and we may accuse the diligence or fidelity of the primitive churches, 
who have preferred the unauthorized version of some nameless Greek. Erasmus 
and his followers, who respect our Greek text as the original Gospel, depiive 
themselves of the evidence which declares it to be the work of an apostle. See 
Simon, Hist. Critique, &c. torn. iii. c. 5-9, pp. 47-101, and the Prolegomena of Mill 
and Wetstein to the New Testament. t 



* The distinct allusion to the facts related in the two first chapters of the 
Gospel, in a work evidently written about the end of the reign of Ke ro, the 
.Ascensio Isaia?, edited by Archbishop Lawrence, seems convincing evidence that 
they are integral parts of the authentic Christian history.— M. 

t Surely the extinction of the Judaeo-Christian community related from Mos- 
heim by Gibbon himself (c. xv.) accounts both simply and naturally for the loss 
of a composition, which had become of no use ; nor does it follow that the Greek 
Gospel of St. Matthew is unauthorized.— M. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 109 

suspicions of the husband, conscious of his own chastity, were 
dispelled by the assurance (in a dream) that his wife was 
pregnant of the Holy Ghost ; and as this distant and domes- 
tic prodigy could not fall under the personal observation of 
the historian, he must have listened to the same voice which 
dictated to Isaiah the future conception of a virgin. The son 
of a virgin, generated by the ineffable operation of the Holy 
Spirit, was a creature without example or resemblance, supe- 
rior in every attribute of mind and body to the children of 
Adam. Since the introduction of the Greek or Chaldean 
philosophy, 6 the Jews " were persuaded of the preexistence, 
transmigration, and immortality of souls ; and providence 
was justified by a supposition, that they were confined m their 
earthly prisons to expiate the stains which they had con- 
tracted in a former state. 8 But the degrees of purity and 
corruption are almost immeasurable. It might be fairly pre- 
sumed, that the most sublime and virtuous of human spirits 
was infused into the offspring of Mary and the Holy Ghost ; 9 
that his abasement was the result of his voluntary choice ; 
and that the object of his mission was to purify, not his own, 
but the sins of the world. On his return to his native skies, 
lie received the immense reward of his obedience; the ever- 
jasting kingdom of the Messiah, which had been darkly 
foretold by the prophets, under the carnal images of peace, 
of conquest, and of dominion. Omnipotence could enlarge 
the human faculties of Christ to the extent of his coelestial 
office. In the language of antiquity, the title of God has 
been severely confined to the first parent, and his incompa- 
rable minister, his only-begotton Son, might claim, without 
presumption, the religious, though secondary, worship of a 
subject world. 

f The metaphysics of the soul are disengaged by Cicero (Tusculan. 1. i.) and 
Maximus of Tyre (Dissertat xvi.) from the intricacies of dialogue, which some- 
times amuse, and often perplex, the readers of the Phadrus, the Phcerfon, and 
the laws of Plato. 

7 The disciples of Jesus were persuaded that a man might have sinned before 
he was born (John ix. 2), and the Pharisees held the transmigration of virtuous 
souls (Joseph, de Bell, Judaico, 1. ii c. 7) ; and a modern Rabbi is modestly as- 
sured, that Hermes, Pythagoras, Plato, &c, derived their metaphysics from ins 
illustrious countrymen. 

8 Four different opinions have been entertained concerning: the origin of hu- 
man souls : 1. That they are eternal and divine. 2. That they were created, in a 
separate state of existence, before their union with the body. 3. That they have 
been propagated from the original stock of Adam, who contained in himself the 
mental as well as the corporeal seed of his posterity. 4. That each soul is occa- 
sionally created and embodied in the moment of conception.— The last of these, 
sentiments aopears to have prevailed among the moderns ; and our spiritual 
history is grown less sublime, without becoming more intelligible 

9 " On y rod Swt^oo? il/vx?) v roS 'ASa^ r,,— was one of the fifteen heresies im- 
puted to O icrcn. and denied bv bis apologist (Photius, P.ibliothec. cod. cxvn. p. 
20(5). Some of the Rabbis attribute one and the same soul to the persons of 
Adam, David, and the Messiah. 



110 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

II. The seeds of the faith, which had slowly arisen in the 
rocky and ungrateful soil of Judea, were transplanted, in 
full maturity, to the happier climes of the Gentiles ; and the 
strangers of Rome or Asia, who never beheld the manhood, 
were the more readily disposed to embrace the divinity, of 
Christ. The Polytheist and the philosopher, the Greek and 
the Barbarian, were alike accustomed to conceive a long 
succession, an infinite chain of angels or dremons, or deities, or 
aaons, or emanations, issuing from the throne of light. Nor 
could it seem strange or incredible, that the first of these 
aeons, the JLof/os, or Word of God, of the same substance 
with the Father, should descend upon earth, to deliver the 
human race from vice and error, and to conduct them in the 
paths of life and immortality. But the prevailing doctrine 
of the eternity and inherent pravity of matter infected the 
primitive churches of the East. Many among the Gentile 
proselytes refused to believe that a ccelestial spirit, an un- 
divided portion of the first essence, had been personally 
united with a mass of impure and contaminated flesh ; and, 
in their zeal for the divinity, they piously abjured the 
humanity, of Christ. While his blood was still recent on 
Mount Calvary, 10 the Docetes, a numerous and learned sect 
of Asiatics, invented the Phantastic system, which was after- 
wards propagated by the Marcionites, the Manicbaeans, and 
the various names of the Gnostic heresy. 11 They denied the 
truth and authenticity of the Gospels, as far as they relate 
the conception of Mary, the birth of Christ, and the thirty 
years that preceded the exercise of his ministry. He first 
appeared on the banks of the Jordan in the form of perfect 
manhood ; but it was a form only, and not a substance; a 
human figure created by the hand of Omnipotence to 
imitate the faculties and actions of a man, and to impose a 
perpetual illusion on the senses of his friends and enemies. 
Articulate sounds vibrated on the ears of the disciples ; but 
the image which w\as impressed on their optic nerve eluded 
the more stubborn evidence of the touch ; and they enjoyed 
the spiritual, not the corporeal, presence of the Son of God. 

10 Anostolis adhue in seoulo superstitious, apud Judaeam Christi sanguine re- 
rente, Phantasm A domini corpi;s asserebatur. Hieronym. advers. Lucifer, c. 8. 
The epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnseans, and even the Gospel according to St. 
John, are levelled against the growing error of the Docetes, who had obtained 
too much credit in the world (1 John. iv. 1-5). 

» About the year 200 of the Christian sera, Trenaeus and TTippolytus refuted 
the- thirty-two sects, Tt?9 it6ufi«i)vv|i*ow ■yi/wo-ew?, which had multiplied to fourscore 
in the time of Epiphanius (Phot. Biblioth. cod. cxx. cxxi. cxxii). The five books 
of Irenreus exist only in barbarous Latin ; but the ongina: might perhaps be 
found in some monastery of Greece. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Ill 

The rage of the Jews was idly wasted against an impassive 
phantom ; and the mystic scenes of the passion and death, 
the resurrection and ascension, of Christ were represented 
on the theatre of Jerusalem for the benefit of mankind. If 
it were urged, that such ideal mimicry, such incessant 
deception, was unworthy of the God of truth, the Docetes 
agreed with too many of their orthodox brethren in the justi- 
fication of pious falsehood. In the system of the Gnostics, 
the Jehovah of Israel, the Creator of this lower world, was 
a rebellious, or at least an ignorant spirit. The Son of God 
descended upon earth to abolish his temple and his law ; 
and, for the accomplishment of this salutary end, he dexter- 
ously -transferred to his own person the hope and prediction 
of a temporal Messiah. 

One of the most subtile disputants of the Maniehsean 
school has pressed the danger and indecency of supposing, 
that the God of the Christians, in the state of a human foetus, 
emerged at the end of nine months from a female womb. 
The pious horror of his antagonists provoked them to dis- 
claim all sensual circumstances of conception and delivery ; 
to maintain that the divinity passed through Mary like a 
sunbeam through a plate of glass ; and to assert, that the 
seal of her virginity remained unbroken even at the moment 
when she became the mother of Christ. But the rashness 
of these concessions has encouraged a milder sentiment of 
those of the Docetes, who taught, not that Christ was a 
phantom, but that he was clothed with an impassible and 
incorruptible body. Such, indeed, in the more orthodox 
system, he has acquired since his resurrection, and such he 
must have always possessed, if it were capable of pervading, 
without resistance or injury, the density of intermediate 
matter. Devoid of its most essential properties, it might be 
exempt from the attributes and infirmities of the flesh. A 
foetus that could increase from an invisible point to its full 
maturity, a child that could attain the stature of perfect man- 
hood without deriving any nourishment from the ordinary 
sources, might continue to exist without repairing a daily 
waste by a daily supply of external matter. Jesus might 
share the repasts of his disciples without being subject to 
the calls of thirst or hunger ; and his virgin purity was 
never sullied by the involuntary stains of sensual concupi- 
scence. Of a body thus singularly constituted, a question 
would arise, by what means, and of what materials, it was 
originally framed ; and our sounder theology is startled by an 



112 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

answer which was not peculiar to the Gnostics, that both 
the form and the substance proceeded from the divine 
essence. The idea of pure and absolute spirit is a refine- 
ment of modern philosophy : the incorporeal essence, as- 
cribed by the ancients to human souls, coelestial beings, and 
even the Deity himself, does not exclude the notion of 
extended space ; and their imagination was satisfied with a 
subtile nature of air, or fire, or aether, incomparably more 
perfect than the grossness of the material world. If we 
define the place, we must describe the figure, of the Deity. 
Our experience, perhaps our vanity, represents the powers 
of reason and virtue under a human form. The Anthro- 
pomorphites, who swarmed among the monks of Egypt and 
the Catholics of Africa, could produce the express declara- 
tion of Scripture, that man was made after the image of his 
Creator. 12 The venerable Serapion, one of the saints of the 
Nitrian deserts, relinquished, with many a tear, his darling 
prejudice ; and bewailed, like an infant, his unlucky eon- 
version, which had stolen away his God, and left his mind 
without any visible object of faith or devotion. 13 

III. Such were the fleeting shadows of the Docetes. A 
more substantial, though less simple, hypothesis, was con- 
trived by Cerinthus of Asia, 14 who dared to oppose the last 
of the apostles. Placed on the confines of the Jewish and 
Gentile world, he labored to reconcile the Gnostic with the 
Ebionite, by confessing in the same Messiah the supernatural 
union of a man and a God ; and this mystic doctrine was 

12 The pilgrim Cnssian, who visited Egypt in the beginning of the vth century, 
observes and laments the reign of anthropomorphism among the monks, who 
were not conscious that they embraced the system of Epicurus (Cicero, de Nat. 
Deorum, i 18,34). Ab. uni verso propemodum gene re monachorum, qui per to- 
tam provinciam Egyptum morabantur, pro Bimplicitatis errore susceptum est, ut 
e contrario memoratum pontilicem (Thvophilus) velut haeresi gravi.-sima deprav- 
atum, pais maxima seniorum ab universo fraternitatis corpore decerneret de- 
testandum (Cassian, Collation x. 2) As long as St. Augustin remained a Mani- 
chajan, he was scandalized by the anthropomorphism of the vuigar Catholics. 

13 Ita est in oratione senex mente confusus. eo quod illam ai^pa)7ro^op<^oi' 
imaginem Deitatis, quam proponere sibi in oratione consueveiat, aboleri de suo 
corde sentiret, ut in amarissimos fletus, crebrosque singultus repente proruni- 
pens, in terram prostratus, cum ejulatu validissimo proclamaret ; " Heu me 
miserum ! tulerunt a me Deuni rueum, et quern nunc teneam nonhabeo, vel 
quem adorem. aut interpellam jam nescio." Cassian. Collat. x. 2. 

14 St. John and Ceiinthus (A. D. 80. Cleric. Hist. Eccles- p. 493) accidentally 
met in the public bath of Ephesus ; but the apostle tied from the heretic, lest 
the building should tumble on their heads. This foolish story, reprobated by Dr. 
Middleton (Miscellaneous Works, vol. ii.), is related, however, by Irenaeus (iii.3), 
on the evidence of Polycarp, and was probably suited to the time and residence 
of Cerinthus. The obsolete, yet probably the true, reading of 1 John, iv. 3 — 
b Avei roy l-qaovu — alludes to the double nature of that primitive heretic.* 



* Griesbach asserts that all the Greek MSS., all the translators, and all the 
Greek fathers, support the common reading— Nov. Test, in loc— M. 



OF THE K0MAN EMPIRE 113 

adopted with many fanciful improvements by Carpocrates, 
Basilides, and Valentine, 15 the heretics of the Egyptian 
school. In their eyes, Jesus of Nazareth was a mere mor- 
tal, the legitimate son of Joseph and Mary : but he was the 
best and wisest of the human race, selected as the worthy in- 
strument to restore upon earth the woi ship of the true and 
supreme Deity. When he was baptised in the Jordan, the 
Christ, the first of the aeons, the Son of God himself, 
descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, to inhabit his 
mind, and direct his actions during the allotted period of his 
ministry. When the Messiah was delivered into the hands 
of the Jews, the Christ, an immortal and impassible being, 
forsook his earthly tabernacle, flew back to the pleroma or 
world of spirits, and left the solitary Jesus to suffer, to com- 
plain, and to expire. But the justice and generosity of such 
a desertion are strongly questionable ; and the fate of an 
innocent martyr, at first impelled, and at length abandoned, 
by his divine companion, might provoke the pity and indig- 
nation of the profane. Their murmurs were variously 
silenced by the sectaries who espoused and modified the 
double system of Cerinthus. It was alleged, that when 
Jesus was nailed to the cross, lie was endowed with a mirac- 
ulous apathy of mind and body, which rendered him insen- 
sible of his apparent sufferings. It was affirmed, that these 
momentary, though real, pangs would be abundantly repaid 
by the temporal reign of a thousand years reserved for the 
Messiah in his Kingdom of the new Jerusalem. It was in- 
sinuated, that if he suffered, he deserved to suffer ; that 
human nature is never absolutely perfect ; and that the cross 
and passion might serve to expiate the venial transgressions 
of the son of Joseph, before his mysterious union with the 
Son of God. 16 

IV. All those who believe the immateriality of the soul, 
a specious and noble tenet, must confess, from their present 

15 The Valentinians embraced a complex ami almost incoherent system. 1. 
Both Christ and Jesus were asons, though of different degrees ; the one acting as 
the rational soul, the other as the divine spirit of the Saviour. 2. At the time of 
the passion, they both retired, and left only a sensitive soul and a human oody. 
3. Even that body was aethereal, and perhaps apparent.— Such are the laborious 
conclusions of Mosheim. But 1 much doubt whet her the Latin translator under- 
stood lreiiieus, and whether Irenaius and the Valentinians understood them- 
selves. 

w The heretics abused the passionate exclamation of " My Ood, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me?" Rousseau, who has drawn an eloquent, but indecent, 
parallel between Christ and Socrates, forgets that n«>t a word of impatience or 
de-pair escaped from the mouth of the dying philosopher. In the Messiah, such 
sentiments could be only apparent ; and fiien ill-sounding words are properly ex- 
plained Hfl the application of a psalm and prophecy. 

Vol. IV.— 8. 



114 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

experience, the incomprehensible union of mind and matter. 
A similar union is not inconsistent with a much higher, or 
even with the highest, degree of mental faculties ; and the 
incarnation of an a3on or archangel, the most perfect of 
created spirits, does not involve any positive contradiction 
or absurdity. In the age of religious freedom, which was 
determined by the council of Nice, the dignity ot Christ 
was measured by private judgment according to the indefi- 
nite rule of Scripture, or reason, or tradition. But when 
his pure and proper divinity had been established on the 
ruins of Arianism, the faith of the Catholics trembled on 
the edge of a precipice where it was impossible to recede, 
dangerous to stand, dreadful to fall; and the manifold in- 
conveniences of their creed were aggravated by the sublime 
character of their theology. They hesitated to pronounce ; 
that God himself, the second person of an equal and con- 
substantial trinity, was manifested in the flesh ; n that a 
being who pervades the universe, had been confined in the 
womb of Mary ; that his eternal duration had been marked 
by the days and months, and years of human existence; that 
the Almighty had been scourged and crucified ; that his 
impassible essence had felt pain and anguish ; that his 
omniscience was not exempt from ignorance ; and that the 
source of life and immortality expired on Mount Calvary. 
These alarming consequences were affirmed with unblushing 
simplicity by Apollinaris, 18 bishop of Laodicea, and one of 
tlie luminaries of the church. The son of a learned gram- 
marian, he was skilled in all the sciences of Greece; elo- 
quence, erudition, and philosophy, conspicuous in the volumes 
or Apollinaris, were humbly devoted to the service of re- 

7 This strong expression might he justified by the language of St. Pun] (1 Tim. 
ill. 1G) ; but we are deceived by our modern Bibles. The word o * (irhuh) was al- 
t' red to a« '<; (God) at Constantinople in the beginning of the sixth i-eiiuuy : the 
true reading, which is visible in the Latin and Syriac versions, still exists "in the 
reasoning of the Greek, as well as of the Latin fathers ; and this f mud. with that 
of tiie three witnesses of St. John, is admirably delected by Sir Isaac Newton. i,See 
his two letters translatedbyM.de Missy, in the Journal Britannique, torn. xv. 
pp. 148-1! 0, 351-390.) I have weighed the arguments, and may yield to the au- 
thority of the first of philosophers, who was deeply skilled in critical and theo- 
logical studies. 

lo ifov Appollinarisand his sect, see Socrates. 1. ii. c. 46, 1. iii. c. 1G. Sozomen, 
1. v. c. 18, 1. vi. c. 25, 27. Theodoret, 1. v. 3, 10, 11. Tillemont, Memoir ea Ecclesi- 
astiques, torn. vii. pp. 602-G38. Not. pp. 789-794, in4to., Venise. 1732. The con- 
temporary saint always mentions the bishop of Laodicea as a friend and brother. 
The style of the more recent historians is harsh and hostile ; yet Philostorgius 
compares him (1. viii. e. 11-15) to Basil and Gregory. 



* It should be o£. Griesbach in loc. The weight of authority is so much 
against the common reading on both these points, that they are no longer urged 
by prudent controversialists. Would Gibbon's deference for the first of philoso- 
phers have extended to all his theological conclusions? — M. 



OF THE EOMAiN" EMPIRE. 115 

ligion. The worthy friend of Athanasius, the worthy an- 
tagonist of Julian, he bravely wrestled with the Arians and 
Polytheists, and though he affected the rigor of geometri- 
cal demonstration, his commentaries revealed the literal and 
allegorical sense of the scriptures. A mystery, which had 
long floated in the looseness of popular belief, was de- 
fined by his perverse diligence in a technical form ; and he 
first proclaimed the memorable words, "One incarnate na- 
ture of Christ," which are still reechoed with hostile clamors 
in the churches of Asia, Egypt, and ^Ethiopia. He taught 
that the Godhead was united or mingled with the body of 
a man ; and that the Logos, the eternal wisdom, supplied 
in the flesh the place and office of a human soul. Yet as 
the profound doctor had been terrified at his own rashness, 
Apollinaris was heard to mutter some faint accents of ex- 
cuse and explanation. He acquiesced in the old distinction 
of the Greek philosophers between the rational and sensi- 
tive soul of man ; that he might reserve the Logos for in- 
tellectual functions, and employ the subordinate human 
principle in the meaner actions of animal life. With the 
moderate Docetes, he revered Mary as the spiritual, rather 
than as the carnal, mother of Christ, whose body either 
came from heaven, impassible and incorruptible, or was ab- 
sorbed, and as it were transformed, into the essence of the 
Deity. The system of Apollinaris was strenuously en- 
countered by the Asiatic and Syrian divines, whose schools 
are honored by the names of Basil, Gregory, and Chrysos-* 
torn, and tainted by those of Diodorus, Theodore, and Nes- 
tonus. But the person of the aged bishop of Laodk-ea, 
his character and dignity, remained inviolate ; and his 
rivals, since we may not suspect them of the weakness of 
toleration, were astonished, perhaps, by the novelty of the 
argument, and diffident of the final sentence of the Catholic 
church. Her judgment at length inclined in their favor; 
the heresy of Apollinaris was condemned, and the separate 
congregations of his disciples were proscribed by the Im- 
perial laws. But his principles were secretly entertained in 
the monasteries of Egypt, and his enemies felt the hatred 
of Theophiius and Cyril, the successive patriarchs of Alex- 
andria. 

Y. The grovelling Ebionite, and the fantastic Docetes, 
were rejected and forgotten : the recent zeal against the er- 
rors of Apollinaris reduced the Catholics to a seeming agree- 
ment with the double nature of Cerinthus. But instead 



116 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of a temporary and occasional alliance, they established} and 
we still embrace, the substantial, indissoluble, and everlasting 
union of a perfect God with a perfect man, of the second 
person of the trinity with a reasonable soul and human flesh* 
In the beginning of the fifth century, the unity of the two 
natures was the prevailing doctrine of the church. On all 
sides, it was confessed, that the mode of their coexistence 
could neither be represented by our ideas, nor expressed by 
our language. Yet a secret and incurable discord was 
cherished, between those who were most apprehensive of 
confounding, and those who were most fearful of separating 
the divinity, and the humanity, of Christ. Impelled by 
religious frenzy, they fled with adverse haste from the error 
which they mutually deemed most destructive of truth and 
salvation. On either hand they were anxious to guard, they 
were jealous to defend, the union and the distinction of the 
two natures, and to invent such forms of speech, such sym- 
bols of doctrine, as were least susceptible of doubt or am- 
biguity. The poverty of ideas and language tempted them 
to ransack art and nature for every possible comparison, 
and each comparison misled their fancy in the explanation 
of an incomparable mystery. In the polemic microscope, 
an atom is enlarged to a monster, and each party was skil- 
ful to exaggerate the absurd or impious conclusions that 
might be extorted from the principles of their adversaries. 
To escape from each other, they wandered through many a 
•dark and devious thicket, till they w r ere astonished by the 
horrid phantoms of Cerinthus and Apollinaris, who guarded 
the opposite issues of the theological labyrinth. As soon as 
they beheld the twilight of sense and heresy, they started, 
measured back their steps, and were again involved in the 
gloom of impenetrable orthodoxy. To purge themselves 
from the guilt or reproach of damnable error, they disa- 
vowed their consequences, explained their principles, ex- 
cused their indiscretions, and unanimously pronounced the 
sounds of concord and faith. Yet a latent and almost in- 
visible spark still lurked among the embers of controversy : 
by the breath of prejudice and passion, it was quickly 
kindled to a mighty flame, and the verbal disputes 19 of the 

19 T appeal to the confession of two Oriental prelates, Gregory Abulpharagius 
the Jacobite primate of the.East, and Elias the Nestorian metropolitan of Dam- 
ascus (see Asseman, Bibliothec. Oriental, torn. ii. p. 291, torn. iii. p. 514, &c), that 
the Melchites, Jacobites, Nestorians, &c, agree in the doctrine, and differ only in 
the expression. Our most learned and rational divines— Basnage, LeClere, Beau- 
eobre, La Croze, Mosheim, -Jablonski— are inclined to favor this charitable ]udg- 
ment; but the zeal of Petavius is loud aud angry, and the moderation of Dupiu 
Js conveyed in a whisper. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 117 

Oriental sects have shaken the pillars of the church and 
state. 

The name of Cyril of Alexandria is famous in contro- 
versial story, and the title of saint is a mark that his opin- 
ions and his party have finally prevailed. In the house of 
his uncle, the archbishop Theophilus, he imbibed the ortho- 
dox lessons of zeal and dominion, and five years of his youth 
were profitably spent in the adjacent monasteries of Nitria. 
Under the tuition of the abbot Serapion, he applied himself 
to ecclesiastical studies, with such indefatigable ardor, th;;t 
in the course of one sleepless night, he has perused the four 
Gospels, the Catholic Epistles, and the Epistle to the Ro- 
mans. Origen he detested ; but the writings of Clemens 
and Dionysius, of Athanasius and Basil, were continually 
in his hands : by the theory and practice of dispute, his 
faith was confirmed and his wit was sharpened : he extended 
round his cell the cobwebs of scholastic theology, and medi- 
tated the works of allegory and metaphysics, whose remains, 
in seven verbose folios, now peaceably slumber by the side 
of their rivals. 20 Cyril prayed and fasted in the desert, but 
his thoughts (it is the reproach of a friend) " 21 were still fixed 
on the world ; and the call of Theophilus, who summoned 
him to the tumult of cities 'and synods, was too readily 
obeyed by the aspiring hermit. With the approbation of 
his uncle, he assumed the office, and acquired the fame, of a 
popular preacher. His comely person adorned the pulpit ; 
the harmony of his voice resounded in the cathedral; his 
friends were stationed to lead or second the applause of the 
congregation ; n and the hasty notes of the scribes preserved 
his discourses, which in their effect, though not in their com- 
position, might be compared with those of the Athenian 
orators. The death of Theophilus expanded and realized 
the hopes of his nephew. The clergy of Alexandria was 
divided ; the soldiers and their general supported the claims 
of the archdeacon ; but a resistless multitude, with voices 
and with hands, asserted the cause of their favorite, and 

*20 r, a Croze (Hist, du Christianisme deslndes. torn. i. p. 24) avows his contempt 
for the genius and writings of Cyril. Be tons les oivrages des anoiens ll y en a 
pen qu'on lise avec moins d'utilite : and Dupin (Bibliotheque Ecclesiastique, 
torn. iv. pp. 42-52), in words of respect, teaches us to despise them. 

21 Of Isidore of Pelusium (1. i. epist. 25, p. 8). As the letter is not of the most 
creditable sort, Tillemont, less sincere than the Bollandists, affects a doubt 
whether this Cyril is the nephew of Theophilus (Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. p. 
2(58). 

22 A grammarian is named by Socrates (1. vii. c. 13} Siairvpos 6£ axpoaT'os tou 
imo-KOTTov KupiAAtv Ka0ecTTu>s, (cat Trepi to Kporovs «f reus 6i5acrKaAta;s avrov iyecpeLV 
iv cT7rou6aioTaTOs. 



118 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

after a period of thirty-nine years, Cyril was seated on the 
throne of Athanasius.** 

The prize was not unworthy of his ambition. At a dis- 
tance from the court, and at the head of an immense capital, 
the patriarch, as he was now styled, of Alexandria had grad- 
ually usurped the state and authority of a civil magistrate. 
The public and private charities of the city were managed 
by his discretion ; his voice inflamed or appeased the passions 
of the multitude ; his commands were blindly obeyed by his 
numerous and fanatic parabolanif* familiarized in their daily 
office with scenes of death ; and the prefects of Egypt were 
awed or provoked by the temporal power of these Christian 
pontiffs. Ardent in the prosecution of heresy, Cyril au- 
spiciously opened his reign by oppressing the Novatians, the 
most innocent and harmless of the sectaries. The inter- 
diction of their religious worship appeared m his eyes a just 
and meritorious act ; and he confiscated their holy vessels, 
without apprehending the guilt of sacrilege. The toleration, 
and even the privileges of the Jews, who had multiplied to 
the number of forty thousand, were secured by the laws of 
the Caesars and Ptolemies, and a long prescription of seven 
hundred years since the foundation of Alexandria- With- 
out any legal sentence, without any royal mandate, the pa- 
triarch, at the dawn of day, led a seditious multitude to the 
attack of the synagogues. Unarmed and unj)repared, the 
Jews were incapable of resistance ; their houses of prayer 
were levelled with the ground, and the episcopal warrior, 
after rewarding his troops w r ith the plunder of their goods, 
expelled from the city the remnant of the unbelieving na- 
tion. Perhaps he might plead the insolence of their pros- 
perity, and their deadly hatred of the Christians, whose 
blood they had recently shed in a malicious or accidental 
tumult. Such crimes would have deserved the animadver- 
sion of the magistrate ; but in this promiscuous outrage, the 
innocent were confounded with the guilty, and Alexandria 
was impoverished by the loss of a wealthy and industrious 

23 See fb9 youth and promotion of Cyril, in Socrates (\. vii. c. 7) and Renaudot 
(Hist. Patriarch. Alexandria, pp. 10G, 108). The Abbe Renaudot drew his mate- 
rials from the Arabic History of Severus, bishop of Hermopolis Magna, or Ash- 
munein, in the xth century, who can never be trusted,- unless our assent is ex- 
torted by the internal evidence of facts. 

2 * The Parabolani of Alexandria were a charitable corporation, insti-tuted 
during the plague of Gallienus, to visit the sick and to bury the de;td. They 
gradually enlarged, abused, and sold the privileges of their order, Their out- 
rageous conduct during the reign of Cyril provoke,! the emperor to deprive the 
patriarch of their nomination, and to restrain their number to five or six hun- 
dred. But these restraint-; were transient and ineffectual. See the Theodosian, 
Code.l. xvi. tit. ii. and Tillemont, Mem. Kccles. torn. xiv. pp. 276-278. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 119 

co ony. The zeal of Cyril exposed him to the penalties of 
the Julian law ; but in a feeble government and a supersti- 
tious age, he was secure of impunity, and even of praise. 
Orestes complained ; but his just complaints were too 
quickly forgo tton by the ministers of Theodosius, and too 
deeply remembered by a priest who affected to pardon, and 
continued to hate, the prefect of Egypt. As he passed 
through the streets, his chariot was assaulted by a band of 
five hundred of the Nitrian monks ; his guards fled from 
the wild beasts of the desert ; his protestations that he was 
a Christian and a Catholic were answered by a volley of 
stones, and the face of Orestes was covered with blood. 
The loyal citizens of Alexandria hastened to his rescue ; he 
instantly satisfied his justice and revenge against the monk 
by whose hand he had been wounded, and Ammonius ex- 
pired under the rod of the lictor. At the command of Cyril 
his body was raised from the ground, and transported, in 
solemn procession, to the cathedral * the name Ammonius 
was changed to that of Thaumasius the wonderful ; his tomb 
was decorated with the trophies of martyrdom, and the pa- 
triarch ascended the pulpit to celebrate the magnanimity of 
an assassin and a rebel. Such honors might incite the faith- 
ful to combat and die under the banners of the saint ; and 
he soon prompted, or accepted, the sacrifice of a virgin, who 
professed the religion of the Greeks, and cultivated the 
friendship of Orestes. Hypatia, the daughter of Theon the 
mathematician, 25 was initiated in her father's studies ; her 
learned comments have elucidated the geometry of Apollo- 
nius and Diophantus, and she publicly taught, both at Athens 
and Alexandria, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. In 
the bloom of beauty, and in the maturity of wisdom, the 
modest maid refused her lovers and instructed her disciples; 
the persons most illustrious for their rank or merit were 
impatient to visit the female philosopher; and Cyril beheld, 
with jealous eye, the gorgeous train of horses and slaves 
who crowded the door of her academy. A rumor was 
spread among the Christians, that the daughter of Theon 
was the only obstacle to the 'reconciliation of the prefect 
and the archbishop ; and that obstacle was speedily removed. 

25 p or Theon and his daughter Hvnatia, see Fabricius, Bibliothee. torn. Tin. 
pp. 21^. 211. Her article in the Lexicon of Ruidas is curious and original. ITesy- 
chius (Meursii Opera, tom. vii. pp. 2°5, 2P6"> observes, that she was persecuted Bia 
ttjv vTTfoSd* \m>rrr> v (rochtav ; and ar epigram in the Greek Anthology (1. i- C. 7*, r>. 
159. edit. Brodfpi) celebrates her knowledge and eloouence. She is honorably 
mentioned (Epist. 10. 15, 1(5, 33-80) 124, 135, 153) by her friend and disciple the phil- 
osophic bishop Synesius. 



120 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

On a fatal day, in the holy season of Lent, Hypatia was 
torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, 
and inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the render, 
and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics; her flesh was 
scraped from her bones with sharp oyster shells, 26 and her 
quivering limbs were delivered to the flames. The just 
progress of inquiry and punishment was stopped by season- 
able gifts ; but the murder of Hypatia has imp/inted an in- 
delible stain on the character and religion of Cyril of Alex 
andria. 27 

Superstition, perhaps, would more gently expiate the 
blood of a virgin, than the banishment of a saint; and Cy- 
ril had accompanied his uncle to the iniquitous synod of the 
Oak. When the memory of Chrysostom was restored and 
consecrated, the nephew of Theophilus, at the head of a 
dying faction, still maintained the justice of his sentence; 
nor was it till after a tedious delay and an obstinate resist- 
ance, that he yielded to the consent of the Catholic world.' 28 
His enmity to the Byzantine pontiffs M was a sense of in- 
terest, not a sally of passion; he envied their fortunate sta- 
tion in the sunshine of the Imperial court; and he dreaded 
their upstart ambition, which oppressed the metropolitans 
of Europe and Asia, invaded the provinces of Antioch and 
Alexandria, and measured their diocese by the limits of the 
empire. The long moderation of Atticus, the mild usurper 
of the throne of Chrysostom, suspended the animosities of 
the Eastern patriarchs ; but Cyril was at length awakened by 
the exaltation of a rival more worthy of his esteem and 
hatred. After the short and troubled reign of Sisinnius, 
bishop of Constantinople, the factions of the clergy and 
people were appeased by the choice of the emperor, who, 
on this occasion, consulted the voice of fame, and invited 

56 ' Oo-rpaKoi? avelkov, koX n.e\r)&hv Smanda-avT^, &c. Oyster shells were plenti- 
fully strewed on the sea beach before the Tfe^areum. I may therefore prefer the 
literal sense, without rejecting the metaphorical version of teg&Ue, tiles, which is 
used by M. de Valois. I am ignorant, and the assassins were probably regardle.-e, 
whether their victim was yet alive. 

-' These exploits of St. Cyril are recorded by Socrates (1. vii. c. 13. 14, 15> , and 
the most reluctant bigotry is compelled to copy an historian who < oolly styles the 
murderers of Hypatia ovSpe? to Qoovyiua evBepnoL. At the mention of that injured 
name, I am pleased to observe a blush even on the cheek of Baronius (A. 1). 415, 
No. 48). 

- 8 He was deaf to the entreaties of Atticus of Constantinople, and of Isidore 
of Pelusium, and yielded only (if we may believe Nicephorus, 1. xiv. c. 1£) to the 
personal intercession of the Virgin. Yet in his last years he still muttered that 
John Chrvsostom had been justly condemned (Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. 
pp. 278-282. Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 412. No. 46-64). 

29 See their characters in the history of Socrates (1. vii. c. 2fi-28 , i ; their power 
and pretensions, in the huge compilation of Thomassin (.Discipline de rEgl'ise^ 
torn. i. pp. 80-91). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 121 

the merit of a stranger. Nestorius, 30 a native of Ger- 
manicia, and a monk of Antioch, was recommended by the 
austerity of his life, and the eloquence of his sermons ; but 
the first homily which he preached before the devout Theo- 
dosius betrayed the acrimony and impatience of his zeal. 
" Give me, O Caesar ! " he exclaimed, u give me the earth 
purged of heretics, and I will give you in exchange the 
kingdom of heaven. Exterminate with me the heretics; 
and with you I will exterminate the Persians." On the 
fifth day, as if the treaty had been already signed, the pa- 
triarch of Constantinople discovered, surprised, and attacked 
a secret conventicle of the Arians ; they preferred death to 
submission ; the flames that were kindled by their despair, 
soon spread to the neighboring houses, and the triumph of 
Nestorius was clouded by the name of incendiary. On 
either side of the Hellespont his episcopal vigor imposed a 
rigid formulary of faith and discipline ; a chronological 
error concerning the festival of Easter was punished as an 
offence against the church and state. Lydia and Caria, Sardes 
and Miletus, were purified with the blood of the obstinate 
Quartodecimans ; and the edict of the emperor, or rather 
of the patriarch, enumerates three-and-twenty degrees and 
denominations in the guilt and punishment of heresy. 31 
But the sword of persecution which Nestorius so furiously 
wielded was soon turned against his own breast. Religion 
w r as the pretence ; but, in the judgment of a contemporary 
saint, ambition was the genuine motive of episcopal war- 
fare. 32 

In the Syrian school, Nestorius had been taught to 
abhor the confusion of the two natures, and nicely to dis- 
criminate the humanity of his master Christ from the divin- 
ity of the icord Jesus. 33 The Blessed Virgin he revered as 
the mother of Christ, but his ears were offended with the 
rash and recent title of mother of God, 34 which had been in- 

30 His elevation and conduct are described by Socrates (1. vii. c. 29, 31) ; and 
Marcellinus seems to have applied the eloquentia; satis, sapientire parum, of 
Sallust. 

31 Cod. Theodos. 1. xvi. tit. v. leg. 65, with the illustrations of Baronius (AD. 
428, No. 25, &c), Godefroy (ad locum) and Pagi, Critioa, torn. i. p. 208). 

32 Isidore of Pelusium (1. iv. Epist. 57). His words are strong and scandalous 

— Ti #av/Aa£e(.?, ec Kai vvv nepi vrfiay/Jia ^eiov kcll "yoyou xpeiTrov 8t.a.<f>oov€iv npoanoLOvv- 

tou v-rrb <|>iAapxt'a5 €Kf3a.Kx** ■'d/u.ei'oi. Isidore is a saint, but he never became a 
bishop ; and I half suspect thaMhe pride of Diogenes trampled on the pride of 
Plato. 

33 La Croze (Christianisme des Indes, torn. i. pp. 44-53. Thesaurus Epistolicus, 
La Crozianus, torn. iii. pp. (276-280) has detected the use of o (WTroTrj? and o kvqios 
Itjctou?, which, in the ivth, vth. and vith centuries, discriminates the school of 
Diodorus of Tarsus and his Nestorian disciples. 

31 '©eoTo/eo? — Deipara; as in zoology we familliarly speak of oviparous and 



122 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sensibly adopted since the origin of the Arian controversy. 
From the pulpit of Constantinople, a friend of the patriarch, 
and afterwards the patriarch himself, repeatedly preached 
against the use, or the abuse, of a word 35 unknown to the 
apostles, unauthorized by the church, and which could only 
tend to alarm the timorous, to mislead the simple, to amuse 
the profane, and to justify, by a seeming resemblance, the 
old genealogy of Olympus. 36 In his calmer moments Nes- 
torius confessed, that it might be tolerated or excused by 
the union of the two natures, and the communication of 
their idioms : 37 but he was exasperated, by contradiction, 
to disclaim the worship of a new-born, an infant Deity, to 
draw his inadequate similes from the conjugal or civil part- 
nerships of life, and to describe the manhood of Christ as 
the robe, the instrument, the tabernacle of his Godhead. 
At these blasphemous sounds, the pillars of the sanctuary 
were shaken. The unsuccessful competitors of Nestorius 
indulged their pious or personal resentment, the Byzantine 
clergy were secretly displeased with the intrusion of a 
stranger ; whatever is superstitious or absurd might claim 
the protection of the monks; and the people was interested 
in the glory of their virgin patroness. 38 The sermons of the 
archbishop, and the service of the altar, were disturbed by 
seditious clamor \ his authority and doctrine were renounced 
by separate congregations ; every wind scattered round the 
empire the leaves of controversy ; and the voice of the com- 
batants on a sonorous theatre reechoed in the cells of Pal- 
estine and Egypt. It was the duty of Cyril to enlighten 
the zeal and ignorance of his innumerable monks : in the 

viviparous animals. It is not easy to fix the invention of this word, which 
La Croze (Christianisme des Tndes, torn. i. p. 16) ascribes to Eusebius of Cppsarea 
and the Arians The orthodox testimonies are produced by Cyril and Petavius 
(Dogmat. Theolog torn. v. 1. v. c. 15, p. 254, &c.) . but the veracity of the saint is 
questionable, and the epithet of ^cotoko? so easily slides from the margin to the 
text of a Catholic MS 

35 Basnage, in his Histoire de l'Egliee, a work of controversy (torn. i. p. 505) 
justifies the mother, by the blood, of God (Acts, xx- 28, with Mill's various read- 
ings). But the Greek MSS. are far from unanimous , and the. primitive style of 
the blood of Christ is preserved in the Syriac version, even in those copies which 
were used by the Christians of St. Thomas on the coast of Malabar (La Croze, 
Christianisme des Indes. torn. i. p. 347). The jealousy of the Nestorians and 
Monophysites has guarded the purity of their text. 

,,(i The Pagans of Egypt already laughed at the new Cybele of the Christians 
(Isidor 1. i. epist. 51) , a letter was forged in the name of Hypatia, to ridicule the 
theology of her assassin (Synodicon. c. 210. in iv. torn. Concil p 48'). In the arti- 
cle of Nestorius, Bayle has scattered some loo*e philosophy on the worship of 
the Virgin Mary. 

37 The avTtSoais of the Greeks, a mutual loan ortransfer of the idioms or prop- 
erties of each nature to the other— of infinity to man, passibility to God. &c 
Twelve rules on this incest of subjects compose the Theological Grammar of Pe- 
tavius (Dogmata Theolog. 10m. v. 1. iv. c. 14, 15. p. 209, &c.). 

3(5 See Ducange, C. P. Christiana. 1. i. p. 30, &c. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 123 

school of Alexandria he had imbibed and processed the in- 
carnation of one nature ; and the successor oi Athanasius 
consulted his pride and ambition, when he rose in arms 
against another Arius, more formidable and more guilt}, on 
the second throne of the hierarchy. After a short corre- 
spondence, in which the rival prelates disguised their hatred 
m the hollow language of respect and charity, the patriarch 
of Alexandria denounced to the prince and people, to the 
East and to the West, the damnable errors of the Byzan- 
tine pontiff. From the East, more especially from Antioch, 
he obtained the ambiguous councils of toleration and si- 
lence, which were addressed to both parties while they 
favored the cause of Nestorius. But the Vatican received 
with open arms the messengers of Egypt. The vanity of 
Celestine was nattered by the appeal ; and the partial ver- 
sion of a monk decided the faith of the pope, who with his 
Latin clergy was ignorant of the language, the arts, and the 
theology of the Greeks. At the head of an Italian synod, 
Celestine weighed the merits of the cause, approved the 
creed of Cyril, condemned the sentiments and person of 
Nestorius, degraded the heretic from his episcopal dignity, 
allowed a respite of ten days for recantation and penance, 
and delegated to his enemy the execution of this rash and 
illegal sentence. But the patriarch of Alexandria, whilst he 
darted the thunders of a god, exposed the errors and pas- 
sions of a mortal ; and his twelve anathemas 39 still torture 
the orthodox slaves, who adore the memory of a saint, with- 
out forfeiting their allegiance to the synod of Chalcedon. 
These bold assertions are indelibly tinged with the colors of 
the Apollinarian heresy; but the serious, and perhaps the 
sincere professions of Nestorius have satisfied the wiser 
and less partial theologians of the present times. 40 

Yet neither the emperor nor the primate of the East 
were disposed to obey the mandate of an Italian priest ; and 
a synod of the Catholic, or rather of the Greek church, was 
unanimously demanded as the sole remedy that could ap- 

39 Concil. torn. iii. p. 943. They have never been directly approved by the 
church (Tillemont, Mem. Eecles. torn. xiv. pp. 368-372). I almost pity the agony 
of rage and sophistry with which Petavius seems to be agitated in the vith book 
of his Dogmata Theologica. 

40 Such as the rational Basnage (ad torn. i. Variar. Lection. Canisii in Praefat. 
c. 2, pp. 11-23) and La Croze, the universal scholar (Christianisme des Indes, torn. 
i. pp. 16-20. I)e l'Ethiopie, pp. 26-27. Thesaur. Epist. p. 176. &c, 283, 285). His 
free sentence is confirmed by that of his friends Jablonski (Thesaur. Epist. torn. 
i. pp. 193-201) and Mosheim (idem, p. 304, Nestorium crimine carnisse est et mea 
sententia); and three more respectable judges will not easily be found. Asseman, 
a learned and modest slave, can hardly discern (Bibliothec. Orient, torn. iv. pp. 
190-224) the guilt and error of the Nestorians. 



124 THE DECLIXE AND FALL 

pease or decide this ecclesiastical quarrel. 41 Epnesus, on all 
sides accessible by sea and land, was chosen for the place, 
the festival of Pentecost for the day, of the meeting; a writ 
of summons was despatched to each metropolitan, and a 
guard was stationed to protect and confine the fathers till 
they should settle the mysteries of heaven, and the faith of 
the earth. Nestorius appeared not as a criminal, but as a 
judge: he depended on the weight rather than the number 
of his prelates, and his sturdy slaves from the baths of Zeux- 
ippus were armed for every service of injury or defence. 
But his adversary Cyril was more powerful in the weapons 
both of the flesh and of the spirit. Disobedient to the let- 
ter, or at least to the meaning, of the royal summons, he 
was attended by fifty Egyptian bishops, who expected from 
their patriarch's nod the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. He 
had contracted an intimate alliance with Memnon, bishop of 
Ephesus. The despotic primate of Asia disposed of the 
ready succors of thirty or forty episcopal votes : a crowd of 
peasants, the slaves of the church, was poured into the city 
to support with blows and clamors a metaphysical argument; 
and the people zealously asserted the honor of the Virgin, 
whose body reposed within the walls of Ephesus. 42 The 
fleet which had transported Cyril from Alexandria was 
laden with the riches of Egypt ; and he disembarked a nu- 
merous body of mariners, slaves, and fanatics, enlisted with 
blind obedience under the banner of St. Mark and the 
mother of God. The fathers, and even the guards, of the 
council were awed by this martial array ; the adversaries of 
Cyril and Mary were insulted in the streets, or threatened 
in their houses ; his eloquence and liberality made a daily 
increase in the number of his adherents ; and the Egyptian 
soon computed that he might command the attendance and 
the voices of two hundred bishops. 43 But the author of the 



41 The origin and progress of the Nestorian controversy, till the synod of 
Ephesus, may be found in Socrates (1. vii. c. 32), Evagrius (1. i. c. 1. 2), Liberatus 
(Brev. c. 1-4), the original Acts (Concil. torn. iii. pp. 551-091, edit. A r enice, 1728), 
the Annals of Baronius and Pagi, and the faithful collections of Tilleniont (Mem. 
Eccles. torn. xiv. pp. 283-377). 

42 The Christians of the four first centuries were ignorant of the death and 
burial of Mary. The tradition of Ephesus is allirmed by the synod (cr0a 6 

^eoAoyo? *Ia>ai/n75, kou t/ ^eoroKO? nap0di>o<; rj ayia Mapio. Concil. tOIU. iii. p. 

1102); yet it has been superseded by the claim of Jerusalem; and her duply 
sepulchre, as it was shown to the pilgrims, produced the fable of her resurrection 
and assumption, in which the Greek and Latin churches have piously aquiesced. 
See Baronius (Annal. Eccles. A. D- 48, No. C, &c.) and Tilleniont (Mem. Eccles. 
torn. i. pp. 467-477). 

4;! The Acts of Chalcedon (Concil. torn. iv. pp. 1405, 1408) exhibit a lively picture 
of the blind, obstinate servitude of the bishops of Egypt to Lheir patriarch. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 125 

twelve anathemas foresaw and dreaded the opposition of 
John of Antioeh, who, with a small, but respectable, train of 
metropolitans and divines, was advancing by slow journeys 
from the distant capital of the East. Impatient of a delay, 
which he stigmatized as voluntary and culpable, 44 Cyril an- 
nounced the opening of the synod sixteen days after the 
festival of Pentecost. Nestorius, who depended on the near 
approach of his Eastern friends, persisted, like his predeces- 
sor Chrysostom, to disclaim the jurisdiction, and to disobey 
the summons, of his enemies : they hastened his trial, and 
his accuser presided in the seat of judgment. Sixty-eight 
bishops, twenty-two of metropolitan rank, defended his cause 
by a modest and temperate protest : they were excluded 
from the councils of their brethren. Candid ian, in the em- 
peror's name, requested a delay of four days ; the profane 
magistrate was driven with outrage and insult from the 
assembly of the saints. The whole of this momentous trans- 
action was crowded into the compass of a summer's day : 
the bishops delivered their separate opinions ; but the uni- 
formity of style reveals the influence or the hand of a mas- 
ter, who has been accused of corrupting the public evidence 
of their acts and subscriptions. 45 Without a dissenting 
voice, they recognized in the epistles of Cyril the Nicene 
creed and the doctrine of the fathers : but the partial extracts 
from the letters and homilies of Nestorius were interrupted 
by curses and anathemas : and the heretic was degraded 
from his episcopal and ecclesiastical dignity. The sentence., 
maliciously inscribed to the new Judas, was affixed and pro- 
claimed in the streets of Ephesus : the weary prelates, as 
they issued from the church of the mother of God, were 
saluted as her champions; and her victory was celebrated by 
the illuminations, the songs, and the tumult of the night. 

On the fifth day, the triumph was clouded by the arrival 
and indignation of the Eastern bishops. In a chamber of 
the inn, before he had wiped the dust from his shoes, John 
of Antioeh gave audience to Candidian, the Imperial minis- 

44 Civil or ecclesiastical business detained the bishops at Antioeh tili the lSti 
of May. Ephesus was at the distance of thirty days' journey ; and ten days more 
may be fairly allowed for accidents and repose. The march of Xenophon ever 
the same ground enumerates above 260 parasangs or leagues ; and this measure 
might be illustrated from ancient and modern itineraries, if I knew how tc com- 
pare the speed of an army, a synod, and a caravan. John of Antioeh is reluc- 
tantly acquitted by Tillemont himself (Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. pp. 38G-38£). 

i: > MeiAfyo/JLevov ju.rj Kara to 8eof rd (v 'E(/>e'o"oj avureOrjuai vnovfrji^a'a, 7iaKJi<pv(.a 6« 
/cat Tti/t adeTfico (catfOTO/xta KupiAAov T€^i/d^ovTO?. EvagriuS, 1. i. C. 7. The 

game imputation was urged by Co'mt Irer.aMis (torn, iii p. 1246) ; and the 
orthodox critics do rot find it an easy task to defend the purity oi the Greek or 

Latin copies of the Act-. 



126 TFTTv DECLINE AXD FALL 

ter ; who related his ineffectual efforts to prevent or to an- 
nul the hasty violence of the Egyptian. With equal haste 
and violence, the Oriental synod of fifty bishops degraded 
Cyril and Meinnon from their episcopal honors, condemned, 
in the twelve anathemas, the purest venom of the Apollina- 
rian heresy, and described the Alexandrian primate as a 
monster, born and educated for the destruction of the 
church. 46 His throne was distant and inaccessible ; but they 
instantly resolved to bestow on the flock of Ephesus the 
blessing of a faithful shepherd. By the vigilance of Mem- 
non, the churches were shut against them, and a strong gar- 
rison was thrown into the cathedral. The troops, under the 
command of Candidian, advanced to the assault ; the out- 
guards were routed and put to the sword, but the place was 
impregnable: the besiegers retired; their retreat was pur- 
sued by a vigorous sally; they lost their horses, and many 
of their soldiers were dangerously wounded with clubs and 
stones. Ephesus, the city of the Virgin, was denied with 
rage and clamor, with sedition and blood ; the rival synods 
darted anathemas and excommunications from their spiritual 
engines ; and the court of Theodosius was perplexed by the 
adverse and contradictory narratives of the Syrian and 
Egyptian factions. During a busy period of three months, 
the emperor tried every method, except the most effectual 
means of indifference and contempt, to reconcile this theo- 
logical quarrel. He attempted to remove or intimidate the 
leaders by a common sentence of acquittal or condemnation; 
he invested his representatives at Ephesus with ample power 
and military force ; he summoned from either party eight 
chosen deputies to a free and candid conference in the neigh- 
borhood of the capital, far from the contagion of popular 
frenzy. But the Orientals refused to yield, and the Catho- 
lics, proud of their numbers and of their Latin allies, re- 
jected all terms of union or toleration. The patience of the 
meek Theodosius was provoked; and he dissolved in anger 
this episcopal tumult, which at the distance of thirteen cen- 
turies assumes the venerable aspect of the third oecumenical 
council. 47 " God is my witness," said the pious prince, " that 

*° 'O &e en' b\idpw twv eKK\rj<TLutv rebels Ka\ Tpa</>€i?. After the coalition Ojl 

John and Cyril, these invectives were mutually forgotten. The style of declama- 
tion must never be confounded with the genuine sense which respectable 
enemies entertain of each other's merit (Concil. torn. iii. p. 1244). • 

4 ' See the acts of the synod of Ephesus in the original Greek, and a Latin ver- 
sion almost contemporary (Concil. torn. iii. pp. 991-1332, with the Syriodicon ad- 
versua Tragoedlan Irenad, torn. iv. pp. 235-4;>7), the Ecclesiastical Histories of 
Socrates (1. vii. c. .'54) and Evagrius (1. i. c. 8, 4. 6), and the Breviary of Liheratus 
(in Concil. torn. vi. pp. 419-459, c. 5, 6), and the MOmoires Eccles. of Tillemont 
(torn. xiv. pp. 377-487.) 



O^ THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 127 

I am not tne author of this confusion. His providence will 
discern and punish the guilty. Return to your provinces, 
and may your private virtues repair the mischief and scan- 
dal of your meeting." They returned to their provinces ; 
but the same passions which had distracted the synod of 
Ephesus were diffused over the Eastern world. After three 
obstinate and equal campaigns, John of Antioch and Cyril 
of Alexandria condescended to explain and embrace : but 
their seeming reunion must be imputed rather to prudence 
than to reason, to the mutual lassitude rather than to the 
Christian charity of the patrinrchs. 

The Byzantine pontiff had instilled into the royal ear a 
baleful prejudice against the character and conduct of his 
Egyptian rival. An epistle of menace and invective, 48 which 
accompanied the summons, accused him as a busy, insolent, 
and envious priest, who perplexed the simplicity of the 
faith, violated the peace of the church and state, and, by his 
artful and separate addresses to the wife and sister of Theo- 
dosius, presumed to suppose, or to scatter, the seeds of dis- 
cord in the Imperial family. At the stern command of his 
sovereign, Cyril had repaired to Ephesus, where he was re- 
sisted, threatened, and confined, by the magistrates in the 
interest of ISTestorius and the Orientals; who assembled the 
troops of Lydia and Ionia to suppress the fanatic and dis- 
orderly train of the patriarch. Without expecting the 
royal license, he escaped from his guards, precipitately em- 
barked, deserted the imperfect synod, and retired to his 
episcopal fortress of safety and independence. But his art- 
ful emissaries, both in the court and city, successfully labored 
to appease the resentment, and to conciliate the favor, of 
the emperor. The feeble son of Arcadius was alternately 
swayed by his wife and sister, by the eunuchs and women 
of the palace : superstition and avarice were their ruling 
passions; and the orthodox chiefs were assiduous in their 
endeavors to alarm the former, and to gratify the latter. 
Constantinople and the suburbs were sanctified with fre- 
quent monasteries, and the holy abbots, Dalmatius and 
Eutyches, 49 had devoted their zeal and fidelity to the cause 

48 Tapaxv^ (says the emperor in pointed language) to ye eu-l a-avroj Kal x<*P l(r t J -ou 

Tou? e/c/cA/ycrtais ep-pe^Arj/ca; .«..<!>; $pacrurepa? 6pp. ij? Trpenovcrri<; pftAAof j) 
oxpt3et'ct5 .... /cat 7roi.Ki.Aia? jaaAAoi' tovto)u r/fxlf ucrrj? ryn-ep d^AdrrjTO? .... 
Travrbi paAAoi' r\ Le'pecos . , . . ra re T<av e/f/cAijcriwf , to re ri>v (5a<TiAe«>v pe'AAeii/ 
■)(u>p^etv (iovAeaOai, ais ovk ouctt]? o(/>op/xTJ? erepa? ev8oKi[xri<7e(jj<; . I should be CUrioUS 

to know how much Nestorius paid for these expressions, so mortifying to his 
rival . 

4:1 Eutvches, the heresiarch Eutyches, is honorably named by Cyril as n, friend, 
a saint, and the strenuous defender of the faith. His brother, the abbot Dalma- 



128 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Cyril, the worship of Mary, and the unity of Christ. 
From the first moment of their monastic life, they had never 
mingled with the world, or trod the profane ground of the 
city. But in this awful moment of the danger of the church, 
their vow was superseded by a more sublime and indis- 
pensable duty. At the head of a long order of monks and 
hermits, who carried burning tapers in their hands, and 
chanted litanies to the mother of God, they proceeded from 
their monasteries to the palace. The people was edified 
and inflamed by this extraordinary spectacle, and the trem- 
bling monarch listened to the prayers and adjurations of 
the saints, who boldly pronounced, that none could hope for 
salvation, unless they embraced the person and the creed of 
the orthodox successor of Athanasius. At the same time, 
every avenue of the throne was assaulted with gold. Under 
the decent names of eulogies and ue?iediclio/is, the courtiers 
of both sexes were bribed according to the measure of their 
power and rapaciousness. But their incessant demands de- 
spoiled the sanctuaries of Constantinople and Alexandria; 
and the authority of the patriarch was unable to silence the 
just murmur of his clergy, that a debt of sixty thousand 
pounds had already been contracted to support the expense 
of this scandalous corruption. 50 Pulcheria, who relieved her 
brother from the weight of an empire, was the firmest pillar 
of orthodoxy; and so intimate was the alliance between the 
thunders of the synod and the whispers of the court, that 
Cyril was assured of success if he could displace one eunuch, 
and substitute another in the favor of Theodosius. Yet the 
Egyptian could not boast of a glorious or decisive victory. 
The emperor, with unaccustomed firmness, adhered to his 
promise of protecting the innocence of the Oriental bishops ; 
and Cyril softened his anathemas, and confessed, with am- 
biguity and reluctance, a twofold nature of Christ, before 
lie was permitted to satiate his revenge against the unfor- 
tunate Nestorius. 51 

tus, is likewise employed to bind the emperor and all his chamberlains terribiU 
conjuralione. Synodieou, c. 203, in Concil. torn. iv. p. 407. 

6,1 Clerici qui hie sunt contristantur, quod ecelesia Alexandrina nudata sit 
hujus causa turbela". : et debet pneteriila quae hinc transmissa shit aurt libras 
mi/te quingenfas. Et nunc ei seriptum est uz praestet ; sed de tua ecelesiai praesta 
avaritke quorum nosti, (fee. This curious and original letter, from Cyril s arch- 
deacon to his creature the new nisho;> of Constantinople, has been unaccountably 
preserved in an old Latin version (Synodieou, c. 203, Concil. torn. iv. pp. 4(35-4(>S). 
The mask is almost dropped, and the! saints speak the honest language of interest 
and confederacy. 

" l The tedious negotiations that succeeded the synod of Ephesus are diffusely 
related in the original acts (Concil. torn. iii. pp. 1339-1771, ad tin. vol. and the 
Synodicon, in torn, iv.), Socrates (i. vii. c. 28, 35, 40, 41), Evagrius (1. i. c. G, 7, 6' 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 129 

The rash and obstinate Nestorius, before the end of the 
synod, was oppressed by Cyril, betrayed by the court, and 
faintly supported by his Eastern friends. A sentiment of 
fear or indignation prompted him, while it was yet time, to 
affect the glory of a voluntary abdication : 52 his wish, or at 
least his request, was readily granted ; he was conducted 
with honor from Ephesus to his old monastery of Antioch ; 
and, after a short pause, his successors, Maximian and Pro- 
clus were acknowledged as the lawful bishops of Constanti- 
nople. But in the silence of his cell, the degraded patriarch 
could no longer resume the innocence and security of a 
private monk. The past he regretted, he was discontented 
with the present, and the future he had reason to dread : the 
Oriental bishops successively disengaged their cause from 
his unpopular name, and each day decreased the number of 
the schismatics who revered Nestorius as the confessor of 
the faith. After a residence at Antioch of four years, the 
hand of Theodosius subscribed an edict, 63 which ranked him 
with Simon the magician, proscribed his opinions and follow- 
ers, condemned his writings to the flames, and banished his 
person first to Petra, in Arabia, and at length to Oasis, one 
of the islands of the Libyan desert. 51 Secluded from the 
church and from the world, the exile was still pursued by the 
rage of bigotry and war. A wandering tribe of the Blem- 
myes or Nubians invaded his solitary prison : in their retreat 
they dismissed a crowd of useless captives; but no sooner 

12), Liberates (c. 7-10). Tillemont (Mem. Eceles. torn. xiv. pp. 487-676). Tue most 
patient reader will thank me for compressing so much nonsense and falsehood in 
a few lines. „ , 

f> 2 Avtov re av 5er,0e'i'TO5, eTTeTpanr) Kara, to oiicetov tnava£ev£ ai p.ovao'Tr/pioi'. Eva- 

grius, 1. i. c. 7. The original letters in the Synodieon (c. 15, 24, 25, 26) justify the 
appearance of a voluntary resignation, which is asserted by Ebed-Jesu, aKesto- 
rian writer, apud Asseman. Bibliot. Oriental, torn. iii. pp. 2!)9, 302. 

53 See the Imperial letters in the Acts of the Synod of Ephesus (Concil. torn, 
iii. pn. 1736-1735). The odious name of Simonians, which was affixed to the disci- 
ples of this TepaTuiSov? 6i8a<TKa\ia<;, was designed w? 'av ovzibeoi 7rpo/3Ar/6eVT«:s aiwvLOV 
vnoixevoiev Tip-wpiaf Ttov d/uapTrj/xaTwi', Kal /u>)Te £a>vTa? Ti^wpias", p-JJTe $avovra<; 

anuia? «to? vnapx^v. Y et these were Christians! who differed only in names 
and in shadows. 

5^ The metaphor of islands is applied by the grave civilians (Pandect. I. xlvni. 
tit. 22, leg. 7) to those happv spots which are discriminated by water and verdure 
from the Libyan sands. thiee of these under the common name of Oasis, or 
Alvahat : 1. The temple of Jupiter Amnion. 2. The middle Oads, three days' 
journey to the west of Lycopolis. 3. The southern, where Nestorius was ban- 
ished, iii the first climate, and only three days' journey from the confines of 
Nubia. See a learned note of Michaelis (ad Descript. ^Egypt. Abulfedaj, p 21- 
34).* 

* 1. The Oasis of Sivah has been visited by Mons. Drovetti and Mr. Browne. 
2. The little Oasis, that of El Kassar, was visited and described by Belzom. 3. 
The great Oasis, and its splendid ruins, have been well described in the travels 
of Sir A. Edmonstone. To these must be added another Western Oasis, also 
visited bv Sir A. Edmonstone. — M. 

Vol. IV.— 9 



130 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

had Nestorius reached the banks of the Nile, than he would 
gladly have escaped from a Roman and orthodox city, to 
the milder servitude of the savages. His flight was punished 
as a new crime : the soul of the patriarch inspired the civil 
and ecclesiastical powers of Egypt ; the magistrates, the 
soldiers, the monks, devoutly tortured the enemy of Christ 
and St. Cyril ; and, as far as the confines of ./Ethiopia, the 
heretic was alternately dragged and recalled, till his aged 
body was broken by the hardships and accidents of these 
reiterated journeys. Yet his mind was still independent 
and erect; the president of Thebais was awed by his pastoral 
letters ; he survived the Catholic tyrant of Alexandria, and, 
after sixteen years' banishment, the synod of Chalcedon 
would perhaps have restored him to the honors, or at least 
to the communion, of the church. The death of Nestorius 
prevented his obedience to their welcome summons ; 55 and 
his disease mi^ht afford some color to the scandalous 

CD 

report, that his tongue, the organ of blasphemy, had been 
eaten by the worms. He was buried in a city of Upper 
Egypt, known by the names of Chemnis, or Panopolis, or 
Akmim ; 55 but the immortal malice of the Jacobites has 
persevered for ages to cast stones against his sepulchre, and 
to propagate the foolish tradition, that it was never watered 
by the rain of heaven, which equally descends on the 
righteous and the ungodly. 57 Humanity may drop a tear on 
the fate of Nestorius; yet justice must observe, that he 
suffered the persecution which he had approved and in- 
flicted. 58 

The death of the Alexandrian primate, after a reign of 
thirty-two years, abandoned the Catholics to the intemper- 
ance of zeal and the abuse of victory. 59 The monophysite 

65 The invitation of Nestorius to the synod of Chalcedon is related bv Zacharias, 
bishop of Melitene (Evagrius, 1. ii. c. 2. Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. i>. 55), 
and the fa nous Xenaias or Philoxenus, bishop of Hierapolis (Asseman. Bibliot. 
Orient, torn. ii. p. 40, &c), denied by Evagrius and Asseman. and stoutly main, 
tained by La Croze (Thesaur. Epistol torn. iii. p. 181, &c). The fact is "not im- 
probable ; yet it was the interest of the Monophysites to spread the invidious 
report ; and Eutychius (torn. ii. p. 12) affirms, that Nestorius died after an exile 
ot seven years, and consequently ten years before the synod of Chalcedon. 

5 " Consult DAnville (Memoire suf l'Egypte, p. 191), Pocock (Description of 
the P^ast. vol. i. p. 76), Abulfeda (Pescript." ^Egvpt, p. 14) and his commentator 
Michaelis (Not. pp. 78-83), and the Nubian Geographer (p 42), who mentions, in 
the xiith century, the ruins and the sugar-canes of Akmim. 

5 ' Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. p. 12) and Gregory Bar Hebrnsus. or Abulphara- 
gius (Asseman. torn. ii. p. 316), represent the credulity of the xth and xiith 
centuries. 

w We are ol^iged to Evagrius (1. i. c. 7) for some extracts from the letters of 
Nestorius ; but tlifi lively picture of his sufferings is treated with insult by the 
hard and stupid fanatic. 

™ Dixi Cyrillum dum viveret, auctoritate sua effecisse, ne Eutychianismus et 
Monophysitarum error in nervum erumperet : idque verum puto "... aliquo 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 131 

doctrine (one incarnate nature) was rigorously preached in 
the churches of Egypt and the monasteries of the East ; the 
primitive creed of Apollmaris was protected by the sanctity 
of Cyril ; and the name of Eutyches, his venerable friend, 
has been applied to the sect most adverse to the Syrian 
heresy of Nestonus. His rival Eutyches was the abbot, or 
archimandrite, or superior of three hundred monks, but the 
opinions of a simple and illiterate recluse might have expired 
in the cell, where he had slept above seventy years, if the 
resentment or indiscretion of Flavian, the Byzantine pontiff, 
had not exposed the scandal to the eyes of the Christian 
world. His domestic synod was instantly convened, their 
proceedings were sullied with clamor and artifice, and the 
aged heretic was surprised into a seeming confession that 
Christ had not derived his body from the substance of the 
Virgin Mary. From their partial decree, Eutyches appealed 
to a general council ; and his cause was vigorously asserted 
by his godson Chrysaphius, the reigning eunuch of the palace, 
and his accomplice Dioscorus, who had succeeded to the 
throne, the creed, the talents, and the vices, of the nephew 
of Theophilus. By the special summons of Theodosius, 
the second synod of Ephesus was judiciously composed 
of ten metropolitans and ten bishops from each of the 
six dioceses of the Eastern empire ; some exceptions of 
favor or merit enlarged the number to one hundred and 
thirty-five ; and the Syrian Barsumas, as the chief and re- 
presentative of the monks, was invited to sit and vote with 
the successors of the apostles. But the despotism of the 
Alexandrian patriarch again oppressed the freedom of 
debate : the same spiritual and carnal weapons were again 
drawn from the arsenals of Egypt : the Asiatic veterans, a 
band of archers, served under the orders of Dioscorus ; and 
the more formidable monks, whose minds were inaccessible 
to reason or mercy-, besieged the doors of the cathedral. 
The general, and, as it should seem, the unconstrained voice 
of the fathers, accepted the faith and even the anathemas 
of Cyril ; and the heresy of the two natures was formally 
condemned in the persons and writings of the most learned 
Orientals. " May those who divide Christ be divided with 
the sword, may they be hewn in pieces, may they be burned 

. . honesto modo TraXtvwStav ceeinerat. The learned but cautious Jablonski did 
not always speak the whole truth. Cum Cyrillo leniusomninoesi.quam si tecum 
aut cum aliis rei hujus probe gnaris et jequis rerum a±stimatontus gerinones 
privatos eonferrem (Thesaur. Epistol. La Crozian. torn. i. pp. 197, 198) ; an excel- 
lent key to his dissertations on the Nestorian controversy ! 



132 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

alive ! " were the charitable wishes of a Christian synod/ 
The innocence and sanctity of Eutyches were acknowledged 
without hesitation ; but the prelates, more especially those 
of Thrace and Asia, were unwilling to depose their patriarch 
for the use or even the abuse of his lawful jurisdiction. 
They embraced the knees of Dioscorus, as he stood with a 
threatening aspect on the footstool of his throne, and con- 
jured him to forgive the offences, and to respect the dignity, 
of his brother. " Do you mean to raise a sedition ? " ex- 
claimed the relentless tyrant. "Where are the officers?" 
At these words a furious multitude of monks and soldiers, 
with staves, and swords, and chains, burst into the church : 
the trembling bishops hid themselves behind the altar, or 
under the benches, and as they were not inspired with the 
zeal of martyrdom, they successively subscribed a blank 
paper, which was afterwards filled with the condemnation 
of the Byzantine pontiff. Flavian was instantly delivered 
to the wild beasts of this spiritual amphitheatre : the monks 
were stimulated by the voice and example of Barsumas to 
avenge the injuries of Christ: it is said that the patriarch 
of Alexandria reviled, and buffeted, and kicked, and tram- 
pled his brother of Constantinople : 61 it is certain, that the 
victim, before he could reach the place of his exile, expired 
on the third day of the wounds and bruises which he had 
received at Ephesus. This second synod has been justly 
branded as a gang of robbers and assassins ; yet the accusers 
of Dioscorus would magnify his violence, to alleviate the 
cowardice and inconstancy of their own behavior. 

The faith of Egypt had prevailed : but the vanquished 
party was supported by the same pope who encountered 
without fear the hostile rage of Attila and Genseric. The 
theology of Leo, his famous tome or epistle on the mystery 
of the incarnation, had been disregarded by the synod of 
Ephesus; his authority, and that of the Latin church, was 

co "H ayia <rvvo&o<i slrrev, apov Kavcrov JLvtrefiiov, outo? £0>v Kan, ovtos els 8vo yevyrai, 
to? e/xeptare, ixepiaOr) . . . el tis \eyec £i'o, afaBi/xa. At the request of Dioseo- 

rus, those who were not able to roar (/3oi>o-at) stretched out their hands. At 
Chalcedon, the Orientals disclaimed these exclamations : but the Egyptians more 
consistently declared Tavra kou totc tLTro/xef kcu vvv Kiyop-ev (Concil. torn. iv. p. 
1012). 

61 'EAeye Se (EusebiuS, bishopof Dorylseum)Tbv4>Aa/3iai'Oi'Te SeiAaioK avaipeOrivai. 
7rpos AiocTKopov wOovixevov re kol KaKvt^o^evov : and this testimony of Evagrius (1. 
ii. c 2) ie amplified by the historian Zonaras (torn. ii. 1. xiii. p. 44), who affirms 
that Dioscorus kicked like a wild ass. But the language of Liberatus (Brev. c. 
12. in Concil. torn. vi. p. 438) is more cautious ; and the Acts of Chalcedon, which 
la vish the names of homicide, Cain, &c, do not justify so pointed a charge. The 
n.or.k Barsumas is- more particularly accused — eor$a£ to*- ixa.Ka.piov wAai/iayo** 
ayjos t<j7i,Kt kill cAc^t, a</>df<u (Concil. torn. iv. p. 1410). 



OF THE EOJIAN EMPIRE. 133 

insulted in his legates, who escaped from slavery and death 
to relate the melancholy tale of the tyranny of Dioscorus 
and the martyrdom of Flavian. His provincial synod 
annulled the irregular proceedings of Ephesus ; but as this 
step was itself irregular, lie solicited the convocation of a 
general council in the free and orthodox provinces of Italy. 
From his independent throne, the Roman bishop spoke and 
acted without danger, as the head of the Christians, and his 
dictates were obsequiously transcribed by Placidia and her 
son Valentinian ; who addressed their Eastern colleague to 
restore the peace and unity of the church. But the pageant 
of Oriental royalty was moved with equal dexterity by the 
hand of the eunuch ; and Tlieodosius could pronounce, with- 
out hesitation, that the church was already peaceful and 
triumphant, and that the recent flame had been extinguished 
by th-e just punishment of the Nestorians. Perhaps the 
Greeks would be still involved in the heresy of the Monophy- 
sites, if the emperor's horse had not fortunately stumbled ; 
Tlieodosius expired ; his orthodox sister, Pulcheria, with a 
nominal husband, succeeded to the throne ; Chrysaphius 
was burnt, Dioscorus was disgraced, the exiles were re- 
called, and the tome of Leo was subscribed by the Oriental 
bishops. Yet the pope was disappointed in his favorite pro- 
ject of a Latin council: he disdained to preside in the 
Greek synod, which was speedily assembled at Nice in 
Bithynia ; his legates required in a peremptory tone the 
presence of the emperor ; and the weary fathers were trans- 
ported to Chalcedon under the immediate eye of Marcian 
and the senate of Constantinople. A quarter of a mile from 
the Thracian Bosphorus, the church of St. Euphemia was 
built on the summit of a gentle though lofty ascent : the 
triple structure was celebrated as a prodigy of art, and the 
boundless prospect of the land and sea might have raised 
the mind of a sectary to the contemplation of the God of 
the universe. Six hundred and thirty bishops were ranged 
in order in the nave of the church ; but the patriarchs of the 
East were preceded by the legates, of whom the third was 
a simple priest ; and the place of honor was reserved for 
twenty laymen of consular or senatorian rank. The gospel 
was ostentatiously displayed in the centre, but the rule of 
faith was defined by the Papal and Imperial ministers, who 
moderated the thirteen sessions of the council of Chalcedon. 6 ' 2 

B2 The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (Concil. Tom. iv. pp. 701-2071) com- 
prehend those of Ephesus (pp. 890-1189), which again comprise the synod of Con- 



134 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Their partial interposition silenced the intemperate shouts 
and execrations, which degraded the episcopal gravity ; but, 
on the formal accusation of the legates, Dioscorus was com- 
pelled to descend from his throne to the rank of a criminal, 
already condemned in the opinion of his judges. The Ori- 
entals, less adverse to Nestorius than to Cyril, accepted the 
Romans as their deliverers : Thrace, and font us, and Asia, 
were exasperated against the murderer of Flavian, and the 
new patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch secured their 
places by the sacrifice of their benefactor. The bishops of 
Palestine, Macedonia, and Greece, were attached to the 
faith of Cyril ; but in the face of the synod, in the heat of 
the battle, the leaders, with their obsequious train, passed 
from the right to the left wing, and decided the victory by 
this seasonable desertion. Of the seventeen suffragans who 
sailed from Alexandria, four were tempted from their alle- 
giance, and the thirteen, falling prostrate on the ground, im- 
plored the mercy of the council, with sighs and tears, and a 
pathetic declaration, that, if they yielded, they should be 
massacred, on their return to Egypt, by the indignant people. 
A tardy repentance was allowed to expiate the guilt or error 
of the accomplices of Dioscorus: but their sins were accu- 
mulated on his head; he neither asked nor hoped for par- 
don, and the moderation of those who pleaded for a general 
amnesty was drowned in the prevailing cry of victory and 
revenge. To save the reputation of his late adherents, some 
personal offences were skilfully detected ; his rash and ille- 
gal excommunication of the pope, and his contumacious 
refusal (while he was detained a prisoner) to attend the 
summons, of the synod. Witnesses were introduced to 
prove the special facts of his pride, avarice, and cruelty ; 
and the fathers heard with abhorrence, that the alms of the 
church were lavished on the female dancers, that his palace, 
and even his bath, was open to the prostitutes of Alexan- 
dria, and that the infamous Pansophia, or Irene, was pub- 
licly entertained as the concubine of the patriarch. 63 

stantinople under Flavian (pp. 930, 1072); and it requires some attention to disen- 
gage this double involution. The whole business of Eutychcs. Flavian, and 
Dioscorus, is related by Evagrius (1. i. c. 9-12, and 1. ii. o. 1 , 2, 3, 4) and 1 iberatus 
(Brew c. 11, 12, 13, 14). Once more, and almost for the last time, I appeal to the 
diligence of Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. torn. xv. pp. 470-710. The annals of 
Baronius and Pagi will accompany me much further on my iong -and laborious 
journey. 

<;3 MaAtcTTa tj 7T6pij36TjT05 nai'cro(|>ia, t; KaXovyevq 'Opeiyrj, (perhaps Et'pTjvJ?, nepl r;? 
kcu 6 TroXvavOpMTTOs rri<; AArf avSrytdtv Sriixoq d(f>r)K€ (fxovvv, aiirris T€ K(tt Tf>C enacrmv 

fieti.wu.evos (Coneil. torn, iv. p. 127(5). A specimen of the wit and malice of the 
people is preserved in the Greek Anthology (1. ii. c- 5, p. 188, edit. Wechel), 
although the application was unknown to the editor Brodseus. The nameless 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 135 

For these scandalous offences, Dioscorus was deposed by 
the synod, and banished by the emperor ; but the purity of 
his faith was declared in the presence, and with the tacit 
approbation, of the fathers. Their prudence supposed 
rather than pronounced the heresy of Eutyches, who was 
never summoned before their tribunal ; and they sat silent 
and abashed, when a bold Monophysite, casting at their feet 
a volume of Cyril, challenged them to anathematize in his 
person the doctrine of the saint. If we fairly peruse the 
acts of Chalcedon as they are recorded by the orthodox 
party, 64 we shall find that a great majority of the bishops 
embraced the simple unity of Christ; and the ambiguous 
concession that he was formed of or from two natures, 
might imply either their previous existence, or their subse- 
quent confusion, or some dangerous interval between the 
conception of the man and the assumption of the God. The 
Roman theology, more positive and precise, adopted the 
term most offensive to the ears of the Egyptians, that Christ 
existed in two natures ; and this momentous particle 65 
(which the memory, rather than the understanding, must re- 
tain) had almost produced a schism among the Catholic 
bishops. The tome of Leo had been respectfully, perhaps 
sincerely, subscribed ; but they protested, in two successive 
debates, that it was neither expedient nor lawful to trans- 
gress the sacred landmarks which had been fixed at Nice, 
Constantinople, and Ephesus, according to the rule of Scrip- 
ture and tradition. At length they yielded to the importu- 
nities of their masters; but their infallible decree, after it 
had been ratified with deliberate votes and vehement accla- 

epigrammatist raises a tolerable pun, by confounding the episcopal salutation 
of " Peace be to all!" with the genuine or corrupted name of the bishop's con- 
cubine : 

Etpryi'T) navrecrcriv, AniaKonos tlnev eneKOioVf 

IIw? Svvarai naaiv, r)v jutos'os tv&ov e\ei ; 

I am ignorant whether the patriarch, who seems to have been a jealous lover, is 
the Cimon of a preceding epigram, whose n-eb? ecrrrj/cos was viewed with envy and 
wonder by Priapus himself. 

M Tho«e who reverence the infallibility of synods, may try to ascertain their 
sense. The leading bishops were attended by partial or cureless scribes, who 
dispersed their copies round the world. Our Greek MSS. are sullied with the 
false and prescribed reading of c< rue (i>vo-eu>i> (Concil. torn. iii. p. 1400): the au- 
thentic translation ot Pope Leo I. does not seem to have been executed, and the 
old Latin versions materially differ from the present Vulgate, which was revised 
(A. D. 550) by Rusticus, a Roman priest, from the best MSS. of the 'Akoi/itjtoi at 
Constantinople (Ducange, C. P. Christiana, 1. iv. p. 151), a famous monastery of 
Latins, Greeks, and Syrians. See Concil. torn. iv. pp. 1959-2049, and Pagi,Critka, 
torn. ii. p. 32fi, &c. 

86 It is darkly represented in the microscope of Petavius (torn. v. 1. iii. c. 5) ; 
yet the subtle theologian is himself afraid— ne quia fortasse supervacaneam, et 
nimis anxiam putet hujusmodi vocularum inquisitionenv- et ab instituti theol- 
logici gravitate alienam (p. 124). 



136 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

m.itions, was overturned in the next session by the opposition 
of the legates and their Oriental friends. It was in vain 
that a multitude of episcopal voices repeated in chorus, 
"The definition of the fathers is orthodox and immutable ! 
The heretics are now discovered ! Anathema to the Nesto- 
rians ! Let them depart from the synod! Let them repair 
to Rome." CG The legates threatened, the emperor was 
absolute, and a committee of eighteen bishops prepared a 
new decree, which was imposed on the reluctant assembly. 
In the name of the fourth general council, the Christ in one 
person, but in two natures, was announced to the Catholic 
world : an invisible line was drawn between the heresy of 
Apollinaris and the faith of St. Cyril ; and the road to para- 
dise, a bridge as sharp as a razor, was suspended over the 
abyss by the master-hand of the theological artist. During 
ten centuries of blindness and servitude, Europe received 
her religious opinions from the oracle of the Vatican ; and 
the same doctrine, already varnished with the rust of antiq- 
uity, was admitted without dispute into the creed of the 
reformers, who disclaimed the supremacy of the Roman 
pontiff. The synod of Chalcedon still triumphs in the Pro- 
testant churches ; but the ferment of controvery has subsi- 
ded, and the most pious Christians of the present day are 
ignorant, or careless, of their own belief concerning the 
mystery of the incarnation. 

Far different was the temper of the Greeks and Egyp- 
tians under the orthodox reigns of Leo and Marcian. Those 
pious emperors enforced with arms and edicts the symbol of 
their faith ; 67 and it was declared by the conscience or honor 
of five hundred bishops, that the decrees of the synod of 
Chalcedon might be lawfully supported, even with blood. 
The Catholics observed with satisfaction, that the same 
synod was odious both to the Nestorians and the Mono- 
physites; 68 but the Nestorians were less angry, or less pow- 

CG *E/3dTj(jav, >? 6 bpos KparetTu), r) anep\6fJi(9a . . . . oi ai>Ti\eyovre<; (bavepol, 
01 avTi\eyovTe<;, Nea-ropiavoi, tierif, oi dvriAeyoi Tes ei<r Piop^y dnt\9(ocriv (Coiicil. torn. 
iv. p. 1449). Evagrius and Liberatus present only the placid lace of the synod, 
and discreetly slide over these embers, suppositos cineri doloso. 

w See, in the Appendix to the Acts of Chalcedon, the confirmation of the 
Synod by Marcian (Concil. torn. iv. pp. 1781, 1783); his letters to the monks of 
Alexandria (p. 1791), of Mount Sinai (p. 1793), of Jerusalem and Palestine (p. 179S); 
his laws against the Eutychians (pp. 1809, 1811, 1831); the correspondence of Leo 
with the provincial synods on the revolution of Alexandria, pp. 1835-1930). 

M Photius (or rather Eulogius of Alexandria) confesses, in a fine passage, the 
specious color of this double charge against Pope Leo and his synod of Chalce- 
don (Bibliot. cod. ccxxv. p. 768). He waged a double war against the enemies of 
the church, and wounded cither foe with the darts of his adversary — Ka.Tay\r)\ois 
/SeAeat tov? dvTin-aAov? eTirpuxTKe. Against Ncstorius he seemed to introduce the 
o-wyxvo-i« of the Monophysitcs ; against Eutycheshe appeared to countenance the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 137 

erful, and the East was distracted by the obstinate and san- 
guinary zeal of the Monophysites. Jerusalem was occupied 
by an army of monks; in the name of the one incarnate na- 
ture, they pillaged, they burnt, they murdered ; the sepulchre 
of Christ was defiled with blood ; and the gates of the city 
were guarded in tumultuous rebellion ngainst the troops of 
the emperor. After the disgrace and exile of Dioscorus, 
the Egyptians still regretted their spiritual father; and de- 
tested the usurpation of his successor, who was introduced 
by the fathers of Chalcedon. The throne of Proterius was 
supported by a guard of two thousand soldiers : he waged 
a five years' war against the people of Alexandria ; and on 
the first intelligence of the death of Marcian, lie became the 
victim of their zeal. On the third day before the festival 
of Easter, the patriarch was besieged in the cathedral, and 
murdered in the baptistery. The remains of his mangled 
corpse were delivered to the flames, and his ashes to the 
wind ; and the deed was inspired by the vision of a pre- 
tended angel : an ambitious monk, who, under the name of 
Timothy the Cat, 09 succeeded to the place and opinions of 
Dioscorus. This deadly superstition was inflamed, on either 
side, by the principle and the practice of retaliation ; in the 
pursuit of a metaphysical quarrel, many thousands 70 were 
slain, and the Christians of every degree were deprived of 
the substantial enjoyments of social life, and of the invisible 
gifts of baptism and the holy communion. Perhaps an extrav- 
agant fable of the times may conceal an allegorical picture 
of these fanatics, who tortured each other and themselves. 
"Under the consulship of Yenantius and Celer," says a 
grave bishop, u the people of Alexandria, and all Egypt, 
were seized with a strange and diabolical frenzy: great 
and small, slaves and freedmen, monks and clergy, the na- 
tives of the land, who opposed the synod of Chalcedon, lost 
their speech and reason, barked like dogs, and tore, with 
their own teeth, the flesh from their hands and arms." 71 
The disorders of thirty years at length produced the 

vncxTTao-eiav Sidftopa of the Nestorians. The apologist claims a charitable inter- 
pretation for the saints : if the same hail been extended to the heretics, the sound 
of the controversy would have been lost hi the air. 

69 AiAovpo<r, from his nocturnal expeditions. In darkness and disguise he crept 
round the cells of the monastery, and whispered the revelation to his slumbering 
brethren (Theodor. Lector. Li). 

70 <bovov<; re ToA/xrj0rjeac /u.voi'ov?, aifxartov irXrjOet. iuiokvv9r)vai /irj novoi Ttje yrjp aAAa 

xai avTbv r'ov aepa. Such is the hyperbolic language of the Henoticon. 

" See the Chronicle of Victor Tunnunensis, in the Lectiones Antiquse of 
Canisius, republished by Basnage, torn. 326. 



138 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

famous Henoticon 72 of the emperor Zeno, which in his 
reign, and in that of Anastasius, was signed by all the 
bishops of the East, under the penalty of degradation and 
exile, if they rejected or infringed this salutary and funda- 
mental law. The clergy may smile or groan at the pre- 
sumption of a layman who defines the articles of faith ; yet 
if he stoops to the humiliating task, his mind is less infected 
by prejudice or interest, and the authority of the magistrate 
can only be maintained by the concord of the people. It is 
in ecclesiastical story, that Zeno appears least contemptible ; 
and I am not able to discern any Maniehsean or Eutychian 
guilt in the generous saying of Anastasius, That it was un- 
worthy of an emperor to persecute the worshippers of Christ 
and the citizens of Rome. The Henoticon was most pleas- 
ing to the Egyptians ; yet the smallest blemish has not been 
descried by the jealous, and even jaundiced eyes of our or- 
thodox schoolmen, and it accurately represents the Catholic 
faith of the incarnation, without adopting or disclaiming the 
peculiar terms or tenets of the hostile sects. A solemn an- 
athema is pronounced against Ncstorius and Eutyches ; 
against all heretics by whom Christ is divided, or con 
founded, or reduced to a phantom. Without defining the, 
number or the article of the word nattire, the pure system 
of St. Cyril, the faith of Nice, Constantinople, and Ephesus, is 
respectfully confirmed ; but, instead of bowing at the name 
of the fourth council, the subject is dismissed by the censure 
of all contrary doctrines, if any such have been taught either 
elsewhere or at Chalcedon. Under this ambiguous expres- 
sion, the friends and enemies of the last synod might unite 
in a silent embrace. The most reasonable Christians acqui- 
esced in this mode of toleration ; but their reason was feeble 
and inconstant, and their obedience was despised as timid 
and servile by the vehement spirit of their brethren. On a 
subject which engrossed the thoughts and discourses of men, 
it was difficult to preserve an exact neutrality; a book, a ser- 
mon, a prayer, rekindled the flame of controversy; and the 
bonds of communion were alternately broken and renewed 
by the private animosity of the bishops. The space between 
Nestorius and Eutyches was filled by a thousand shades of 

w The Henoticon is transcribed by Evagrius (1. iii. c. 13), and translated by 
Liberatus (Brev. c. 18). Pagi (Critica, torn. it. p. 411) and Athenian (Bibliot. 
Orient, torn. i. p. 343) are satisfied that it is free trom heresy: but Petavius 
(Dogmat. Theolog. torn. v. 1. i. c. 13, p. 40) most unaccountably affirms Chalce- 
donensem ascivit. An adversary would prove that he had* never read the 
Henoticon. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 139 

language and opinion; the acep/mW 19 of Egypt, and the 
Roman pontiffs, of equal valor, though of unequal strength, 
may be found at the two extremities of the theological scale. 
The acephali, without a king or a bishop, were separated 
above three hundred years from the patriarchs of Alexan- 
dria, who had accepted the communion of Constantinople, 
without exacting a formal condemnation of the synod of 
Chalcedon. For accepting the communion of Alexandria, 
without a formal approbation of the same synod, the patri- 
archs of Constantinople were anathematized by the popes. 
Their inflexible despotism involved the most orthodox of 
the Greek churches in this spiritual contagion, denied or 
doubted the validity of their sacraments, 74 and fomented, 
thirty-five years, the schism of the East and West, till they 
finally abolished the memory of four Byzantine pontiffs, 
who had dared to oppose the supremacy of St. Peter. 75 Be- 
fore that period, the precarious truce of Constantinople and 
Egypt had been violated by the zeal of the rival prelates. 
Macedonius, who was suspected of the Nestorian heresy, 
asserted, in disgrace and exile, the synod of Chalcedon, 
while tiie successor of Cyril would have purchased its over- 
throw with a bribe of two thousand pounds of gold. 

In the fever of the times, the sense, or rather the sound 
of a syllable, was sufficient to disturb the peace of an em- 
pire. The TnisAGiox 76 (thrice holy) " Holy, holy, holy, 
Lord God of Hosts ! " is supposed, by the Greeks, to be the 
identical hymn w T hieh the angels and cherubim eternally re- 
peat before the throne of God, and which, about the middle 

" See Renandot (FTist. Patriarch. Alex. pp. 123, 131, 145, 195, 247). They were 
reconciled by the care of Mark I. (A. D. 799-219) : lie promoted their chl is to 
the bishoprics of Ath.ibis and Talba (perhaps Tava. See O'Anville, p, 82), 
and supplied the sacraments, which had failed for want of an episcopal ordin- 
ation. 

74 De his quos baptizavit, quos ordinavit Acaeius, majorum traditione con- 
fectam et veram, pneclpue religiosa? solicitudini congruam praebemus sine 
diilicultate medicinain (Galacius, in epist. i. ad Euphemium, Concil. torn. v. 28G.) 
The offer of a medicine proves the disease, and numbers must have perished 
before the arrival of the Roman physician. Tillemont himself (Mem. Eccles. 
torn. xvi. pp, :;7 , G12, &c.) is shocked at the proud, uncha:itable temper of the 
popes ; they are now glad, says he, to invoke St. Flavian of Antioch, St. Elias of 
Jerusalem, &c, to whom thev refused communion whilst upon earth. But 
Cardinal Baroniusis firm and hard as the rock of St. Peter. 

75 Their names were erased from the diptych of the church: ex venerabili 
diptycho, in quo pue memoriae traositum ad cad urn habentium episcoporum 
vocabula continentur (Con<il. Tom. iv. p. 184G). This ecclesiastical record was 
therefore equivalent to the book of life. 

70 Pctavius(T)ogmat. Theolog. lorn. v. 1 v. c. 2. 3, 4. pp 217--22.T) and Tillemont 
(Mem. Eccles. torn. xiv. p. 713, &c., 799) represent the history and doctrine of the 
Trisa don. in the twelve centuries between Isaiah and St. Proculs's bov, who 
was taken up into heaven before the bishop and people of Constantinople, the 
eong was considerably improved. The boy heard the angels sing, " Holy God ! 
Holy strong ! Holy immortal ! " 



140 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

of the fifth century, was miraculously revealed to the church 
of Constantinople. The devotion of Antioch soon added, 
" who was crucified for us ! " and this grateful address, 
either to Christ alone, or to the whole Trinity, may be jus- 
tified by the rules of theology, and has been gradually 
adopted by the Catholics of the East and West. But it 
had been imagined by a Monophysite bishop ; 77 the gift of 
an enemy was at first rejected as a dire and dangerous 
blasphemy, and the rash innovation had nearly cost the 
emperor Anastasius his throne and his life. 78 The people 
of Constantinople was devoid of any rational principles of 
freedom; but they held, as a lawful cause of rebellion, the 
color of a livery in the races, or the color of a mystery in 
the schools. The Trisagion, with and without this ob- 
noxious addition, was chanted in the cathedral by two ad- 
verse choirs, and when their lungs were exhausted, they 
had recourse to the more solid arguments of sticks and 
stones; the aggressors were punished by the emperor, and 
defended by the patriarch ; and the crown and mitre were 
staked on the event of this momentous quarrel. The streets 
were instantly crowded with innumerable swarms of men, 
women, and children ; the legions of monks, in regular 
array, marched, and shouted, and fought at their head, 
"Christians! this is the day of martyrdom: let us not de- 
sert our spiritual father; anathema to the Manichaean 
tyrant! he is unworthy to reign." Such was the Catholic 
cry ; and the galleys of Anastasius lay upon their oars be- 
fore the palace, till the patriarch had pardoned his penitent, 
and hushed the waves of the troubled multitude. The tri- 
umph of Macedcnius w r as checked by a speedy exile ; but 
the zeal of his flock was again exasperated by the same 
question, "Whether one of the Trinity had been cruci- 
fied ?" On this momentous occasion, the blue and green 
factions of Constantinople suspended their discord, and the 
civil and military powers were annihilated in their presence. 
The keys of the city, and the standards of the guards, were 
deposited in the forum of Constantine, the principal station 
and camp of the faithful. Day and night they were inces- 
santly busied either in singing hymns to the honor of their 

77 Peter Gnapheus, the fuller (a trade which lie had exercised in his monas- 
tery), patriarch of Antioch. His tedious story is discussed in the Annals of 1'agi 
(A. L. 477-490) and a dissertation of M. de Valois at the end of his Evagrius. 

78 The troubles under the reign of Anastasius must be gathered from the 
Chronicles of Victor, Marcellinus, and Theophanes. As the last was not pub- 
lished in the time of Baronius, his critic Tagi is more copious, as well as more 
correct. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 141 

God, or in pillaging and murdering the servants of their 
prince. The head of his favorite monk, the friend, as they 
styled him, of the enemy of the Holy Trinity, was borne 
aloft on a spear; and the firebrands, which had been darted 
against heretical structures, diffused the undistinguishing 
flames over the most orthodox buildings. The statues of 
the emperor were broken, and his person was concealed in 
a suburb, till, at the end of three days, he dared to implore 
the mercy of his subjects. Without his diadem, and in the 
posture of a suppliant, Anastasius appeared on the throne 
of the Circus. The Catholics, before his face, rehearsed 
their genuine Trisagion ; they exulted in the offer, which 
he proclaimed by the voice of a herald, of abdicating the 
purple; they listened to the admonition, that, since all 
could not reign, they should previously agree in the choice 
of a sovereign ; and they accepted the blood of two unpopu- 
lar ministers, whom their master, without hesitation, con- 
demned to the lions. These furious but transient seditions 
were encouraged by the success of Vitalian, who, with an 
army of Huns and Bulgarians, for the most part idolaters, 
declared himself the champion of the Catholic faith. In 
this pious rebellion he depopulated Thrace, besieged Con- 
stantinople, exterminated sixty-five thousand of his fellow- 
Christians, till he obtained the recall of the bishops, the 
satisfaction of the pope, and the establishment of the coun- 
cil of Chalcedon, an orthodox treaty, reluctantly signed by 
the dying Anastasius, and more faithfully performed by the 
uncle of Justinian. And such was the event of the first of the 
religious Avars which have been waged in the name, and by 
the disciples, of the God of peace. 79 

Justinian has been already seen in the various lights of 
a prince, a conqueror, and a lawgiver : the theologian l0 still 
remains, and it affords an unfavorable prejudice, that his 
theology should form a very prominent feature of his por- 

7° The general history, from the council of Chalcedon to the death of Anas- 
tasius, may be found in the Breviary of Liberatu3 (c. 14--1!>), the iid and iiid 
books of Evagrius, the Abstract of the two books of Theodore the Reader, the 
Acts of the Synods, and the Epistles of the Popes (Concil. torn, v.). The series is 
continued with some disorder in the xvth and xvith tomes of the Meinoires 
Ecclesiastiques of Tillemont. And here I must take leave forever of that incom- 
parable guide — whose bigotry is overbalanced by the merits of erudition, dili- 
gence, veracity, and scrupulous minuteness. He was prevented by d-jath from 
completing, as he designed, the vith century of t«be church and empire. 

8J The strain of the Anecdotes of Procopius (c. 11,13,18, 27, 2S), with the 
learned remarks of Alemannus, is confirmed, rather than contradicted, by the 
Acts of the Councils, the fourth book of Evagrius, and the complaints of tho 
African Facundus, in his xiith book— de tribus capit:;lis, ''cum Tided doctuu 
appetit importune . spontaneis qusestionibus ecelesiaui turbat." See Procop, 
de Bell. Goth. 1. iii. c. 35. 



142 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

trait. The sovereign sympathized with his subjects in their 
superstitious reverence for living and departed saints: his 
Code, and more especially his Novels, confirm and enlarge the 
privileges of the clergy; and in every dispute between a 
monk and a layman, the partial judge was inclined to pro- 
nounce that truth, and innocence, and justice, were always 
on the side of the church. In his public and private devo- 
tions, the emperor was assiduous and exemplary; his pray- 
ers, vigils, and fasts, displayed the austere penance of a 
monk ; his fancy was amused by the hope, or belief, of per- 
sonal inspiration ; he had secured the patronage of the Vir- 
gin and St. Michael the archangel ; and his recovery from a 
dangerous disease was ascribed to the miraculous succor of 
the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian. The capital and the 
provinces of the East were decorated with the monuments 
of his religion ; 81 and though the far greater part of these 
costly structures may be attributed to his taste or ostenta- 
tion, the zeal of the royal architect was probably quickened 
by a genuine sense of love and gratitude towards his invis- 
ible benefactors. Among the titles of imperial greatness, 
the name of Pious was most pleasing to his ear ; to pro- 
mote the temporal and spiritual interest of the church was 
the serious business of his life ; and the duty of father of 
his country was often sacrificed to that of defender of the 
faith. The controversies of the times were congenial to his 
temper and understanding; and the theological professors 
must inwardly deride the diligence of a stranger, who cul 
tivated their art and neglected his own. " What can ye 
fear," said a bold conspirator to his associates, "from your 
bigoted tyrant ? Sleepless and unarmed, he sits whole 
nights in his closet, debating with reverend graybeards, and 
turning over the pages of ecclesiastical volumes." 82 The 
fruits of these lucubrations were displayed in many a con- 
ference, where Justinian might shine as the loudest and 
most subtile of the disputants ; in many a sermon, which, 
under the name of edicts and epistles, proclaimed to the 
empire the theology of their master. While the Barba- 
rians invaded the provinces, while the victorious legions 
marched under the banners of Belisarius and ISTarses, the 
successor of Trajan, unknown to the camp, was content to 

81 Procop. de Ediiiciis, I. i. c. 6. 7, &c, passim. 

32 "O? 6s KcxQrjrai. ai>)v\ai:TO<; e<; del t~i /\<?cr;(7]? Ti^b? au>pi vvktuiw, omou to\ tu>v 
'tepewv err^rirov yipovaiv clvckv :Ke\v to. XpicrTiai'tov Ad-yca crnovS'rjy c^coi'. Procop, da 
Bell. Go'.h. 1. i'i. c. 32. In the life of St- Eutychius (apud Aleman. ad Procop. 
Arcan. c. 18) the same character is given with a design to praise Justinian. 



OF. THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 143 

vanquish at the head of a synod. Hud he invited to these 
synods a disinterested and rational spectator, Justinian 
might have learned, " that religious controversy is the off- 
spring of arrogance and folly ; that true piety is most laud- 
ably expressed, by silence and submission ; that man, igno- 
rant of ins own nature, should not presume to scrutinize the 
nature of his God; and that it is sufficient for us to know, 
that power and benevolence are the perfect attributes of 
the Deity." 83 

Toleration was not the virtue of the times, and indul- 
gence to rebels has seldom been the virtue of princes. But 
when the prince descends to the narrow and peevish char- 
acter of a disputant, he is easily provoked to supply the de- 
fect of argument by the plenitude of power, and to chastise 
without mercy the perverse blindness of those who wilfuliy 
shut their eyes against the light of demonstration. The 
reign of Justinian was a uniform yet various scene of per 
secution ; and he appears to have surpassed his indolent 
predecessors, both in the contrivance of his laws and the 
rigor of their execution. The insufficient term of three 
months was assigned for the conversion or exile of all here- 
tics ; 84 and if he still connived at their precarious stay, they 
were deprived, under his iron yoke, not only of the benefits 
of society, but of the common birthright of men and Chris- 
tians. At the end of four hundred years, the Montanists 
of Phrygia 85r still breathed the wild enthusiasm of perfec- 
tion and prophecy which they had imbibed from their male 
and female apostles, the special organs of the Paraclete. 
On the approach of the Catholic priests and soldiers, they 
grasped with alacrity the crown of martyrdom ; the con- 
venticle and the congregation perished in the flames, but 
these primitive fanatics were not extinguished three hun- 
dred years after the death of their tyrant. Under the pro- 
tection of the Gothic confederates, the church of the Arians 
at Constantinople had braved the severity of the laws ; their 

83 For these wise and moderate sentiments, Proeopius (de Bell. Goth 1. i e. 3) 
is scourged in the preface of Alemannus, who ranks him among the political 
Christians— sed longe verius haBiesium omnium sentinas, prorsusque Atheos— 
abominable Atheists, who preached the imitation of God's mercy to man (ab 
Hist. Arcan.c. 13). 

S4 This alternative, a precious circumstance, is preserved by John Malala, 
(torn, ii p. P3, edit. Venet- 17.^3). who deserves more crpdit as he draws towards 
his end. After numbering the heretics, Nestorians, Eutvchians, &c, ne expect- 
ent, Fays Justinian, ut , digni venia judicentur : jubemus, enim ut . . convicti 
et aperti lueretici justje et, icionene animadversioni subjieiantur. Baronius copies 
and applauds this edict of the Code (A. D. 527, No. 30, 40). 

* B See the character and principles of the Montanists, in Mosheim. de Rebus 
Christ, ante Constantinum, pp. 410-424. 



144 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

clergy equalled the wealth and magnificence of the senate ; 
and the gold and silver which were seized by the rapacious 
hand of Justinian might perhaps be claimed as the spoils of 
the provinces, and the trophies of the Barbarians. A secret 
remnant of Pagans, who still lurked in the most refined and 
most rustic conditions of mankind, excited the indignation 
of the Christians, who were perhaps unwilling that any 
strangers should be the witnesses of their intestine quarrels. 
A bishop was named as the inquisitor of the faith, and his 
diligence soon discovered, in the court and city, the magis- 
trates, lawyers, physicians, and sophists, who still cherished 
the superstition of the Greeks. They were sternly in- 
formed that they must choose without delay between the 
displeasure of Jupiter or Justinian, find that their aversion 
to the gospel could no longer be disguised under the scan- 
dalous mask of indifference or impiety. The ] atrician 
Photius, perhaps, alone was resolved to live and to die like 
his ancestors : he enfranchised himself with the stroke of a 
dagger, and left his tyrant the poor consolation of exposing 
with ignominy the lifeless corpse of the fugitive. His 
weaker brethren submitted to their earthly monareh, un- 
derwent the ceremony of baptism, and labored, by their ex- 
traordinary zeal, to erase the suspicion, or to expiate the, 
guilt, of idolatry. The native country of Htnicr, and the 
theatre of the Trojan war, still retained the last sparks of 
his mythology : by the care of the same bishop, seventy 
thousand Pagans were detected and converted in Asia, 
Phrygia, Lydia, and Caria ; ninety-six churches were built 
for the new proselytes ; and linen vestments, Bibles, and 
liturgies, and vases of gold and silver, were supplied by the 
pious munificence of Justinian.* The Jews, Avho had been 
gradually stripped of their immunities, were oppressed by 
a, vexatious law, which compelled them to observe the festi- 
val of Easter the same day on which it was celebrated by 
the Christians. 87 And they might complain with the more 
reason, since the Catholics themselves did not agree with 
the astronomical calculations of their sovereign : the people 

w Thpophan. Chron. p. 153. John, the T\Tonophysi!e bishop of Asia, is a more 
authentic witness of this transaction, in which he was himself employed by the 
emperor (Asseman. Bib. Orient, torn, ii p. 85). ** 

87 Compare Proropius (Hist. Arcan. c. 28, and Aleman's Notes) with Theophanes 
(Chron. p. 190). The council of Nice has intrusted the patriarch, or rather the 
astronomers, of Alexandria, with the annual proclamation of Easter; and we 
still read, or rather we do not read, many of the Paschal epistles of St. Cyril. 
Since the reign of Monophytism in Egypt, the Catholics were perplexed by 6uch 
a foolish prejudice as that which so long opposed, among the Piotestante, the 
reception of the Gregorian style. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 145 

of Constantinople delayed the beginning of their Lent a 
whole week after it had been ordained by authority ; and 
they had the pleasure of fasting seven days, while meat was 
exposed for sale by the command of the emperor. The 
Samaritans of Palestine 88 were a motley race, an ambiguous 
sect, rejected as Jews by the Pagans, by the Jews as schis- 
matics, and by the Christians as idolaters. The abomina 
lion of the cross had already been planted on their holy 
mount of Garizim, s0 but the persecution of Justinian offered 
only the alternative of baptism or rebellion. They chose 
the latter : under the standard of a desperate leader, they 
rose in arms, and retaliated their wrongs on the lives, the 
property, and the temples, of a defenceless people. The 
Samaritans were finally subdued by the regular forces of 
the East : twenty thousand were slain, twenty thousand 
were sold by the Arabs to the infidels of Persia and India, 
and the remains of that unhappy nation atoned for the crime 
of treason by the sin of hypocrisy. It has been computed 
tJiat one hundred thousand Roman subjects were extirpated 
in the Samaritan war, 90 which converted the once fruitful 
province into a desolate and smoking wilderness. But in 
the creed of Justinian, the guilt of murder could not be ap- 
plied to the slaughter of unbelievers ; and he piously labored 
to establish with fire and sword the unity of the Christian 
faith. 91 

With these sentiments, it was incumbent on him, at 
least, to be always in the right. In the first years of his ad- 
ministration, he signalized his zeal as the disciple and pa- 
tron of orthodoxy : the reconciliation of the Greeks and 
Latins established the tome of St. Leo as the creed of the 
emperor and the empire ; the Nestorians and Eutychians 
were exposed, on either side, to the double edge of perse- 
cution ; and the four synods of Nice, Constantinople, Eph- 
esus, and Chalcedou, were ratified by the code of a Catholic 
lawgiver. 92 But while Justinian strove to maintain the 

88 For the religion and history of the Samaritans, consult Basnage, Histoire 
des Juifs, a learned and impartial work. 

89 Sicheni Neapolis, Naplous, the ancient and modern seat of the Samaritans, 
is situate in a valley between the barren Ebal, the mountain of cursing to the 
north, and the fruitful Garizim, or mountain of cursing to the south, ten or 
eleven hours' travel from Jerusalem. See Maundrel. Journey from Aleppo, &c., 
pp. 59-63. 

,J0 Procop. Anecdot. c. 11. Theophan. Chron. p. 122. John Malala, Chron. 
torn, i-. p. <:'.>. I rem pi '>T>*rp*i observation, half philosophical, half superstitious, 
that the province which had been ruined by the bigotry of Justinian, was the 
same through which the Mahometans penetrated into the empire. 

V1 The expression of Procopius is remarkable : ou yap oi <=<Wtt <j>6vo<; avQpwirtav 
tlvai, r\v ye urj tjj? oh'itou 8^11? oi Te euTwcTe; rvxoiev avres. Anecdot. C. 13. 

62 S^e the Chronicle of Victor, p. 328, and the original evidence of the laws of 

Vol. IV.— 10 



1*6 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

uniformity of faith and worship, his wife Theodora, whose 
vices were not incompatible with devotion, had listened to 
the JVLonophysite teachers ; and the open or clandestine 
enemies of the church revived and multiplied at the smile 
of their gracious patroness. The capital, the palace, the 
nuptial bed, were torn by spiritual discord; yet so doubtful 
was the sincerity of the royal consorts that their seeming 
disagreement was imputed by many to a secret and mis- 
chievous confederacy against the religion and happiness of 
their people. 93 The famous dispute of the three chap- 
ters, 94 which has filled more volumes than it deserves lines, 
is deeply marked with this subtle and disingenuous spirit. 
Jt was now three hundred years since the body of Origen 95 
had been eaten by the worms : his soul, of which he held 
the preexistence, was in the hands of its Creator ; but his 
writings were eagerly perused by the monks of Palestine. 
In these writings, the piercing eye of Justinian descried 
more than ten metaphysical errors ; and the primitive doc- 
tor, in the company of Pythagoras and Plato, was devoted 
by the clergy to the eternity of hell-fire, which he had pre- 
sumed to deny. Under the cover of this precedent, a 
treacherous blow was aimed at the council of Chalcedon. 
The fathers had listened without impatience to the praise 
of Theodore of Mopsuestia; 96 and their justice or indul- 
gence had restored both Theodoret of Cyrrhus, and Ibas of 
Edessa, to the communion of the church. But the charac- 

Justinian. During the first years of his reign, Baronius himself is in extreme 
good humor with the emperor, who courted the popes, till he got them into his 
power. 

93 Procopius, Aneeiot. c. 13. Evagrius, 1. iv. c. 10. If the ecclesiastical never 
read the secret historian, their common suspicion proves at least the general 
hatred. 

'-"* On the subject of the three chapters, the original acts of the vth general 
council of Constantinople supply much useless, though authentic, knowledge 
(Concil. torn. vi. pp. 14-19). The Greek Evagrius is less copious and correct (1. iv. 
c. 38) than the three zealous Africans, Facundus (in his twelve hooks, detrihus 
capitulis, which are most correctly published by Sirmond\ Liberatus (in his 
Breviarum, c. 22, 23, 24), and Victor Tunnunensis in his Chronicle (in torn. i. 
Antiq. Lect. Canisii, pp. 330-334). The Liber Pontificalis, or Anastasius (in 
Vigilio,Pelagio, &c.) is original Italian evidence. The modern reader will de- 
rive some information from Dupin (Bibliot. Fccles. torn. v. pp. 189-207) and 
Basnage(Hist. de l'Eglise, torn. i. pp. 519-541) ; yet the latter is too firmly resolved 
to depreciate the authority and character of the popes. 

95 Crimen h >.d indeed too great a propensity to imitate the TrAavrjand Sv<ro-e£eia 
ot the old philosophers (Justinian, ad Mennam, in Concil. torn. vi. p. 356). His 
moderate opinions were too repugnant to the zeal of the church, and he was 
found guilty of the heresy of reason. 

yr ' Basnage (Pnefat. pp. 11-14, ad ton., i. Antiq. Lect. Canis.) has fairly weigh- 
ed the guilt and innocence of Theodore of Mopsuestia. If he composed 10.000 
volumes, as many errors would be a charitable allowance. In all the subsequent 
catalogues of heresiarchs, he alone, without his two brethren, is included ; and 
it is the duty of Asseman (Bibliot Orient, torn. iv. pp. 203-207) to justify the 
sentence. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 147 

ters of these Oriental bishops were tainted with the re- 
proach of heresy ; the first had been the master, the two 
others were the friends, of Nestorius : their most suspicious 
passages were accused under the title of the three chapters ; 
and the condemnation of their memory must involve the 
honor of a synod, whose name was pronounced with sin- 
cere or affected reverence by the Calholic world. If these 
bishops, whether innocent or guilty, were annihilated in 
the sleep of death, they would not probably be awakened 
by the clamor which, after a hundred years, was raised 
over their grave. If they were already in the fangs of the 
daemon, their torments could neither be aggravated nor as- 
suaged by human industry. If in the company of saints 
and angels they enjoyed the rewards of piety, they must 
have smiled at the idle fury of the theological insects who 
still crawled on the surface of the earth. The foiemost of 
these insects, the emperor of the Kcmrns, darted his sting, 
and distilled his vencm, perhaps without discerning the 
true motives of Theodora and her ecclesiastical faction. 
The victims were no longer subject to his power, and the 
vehement style of his edicts could only proclaim their 
damnation, and invite the clergy of the East to join in a 
full chorus of curses and anathemas. The East, with some 
hesitation, consented to the voice of her sovereign : the 
fifth general council, of three patriarchs, and one hundred 
and sixty-five bishops, was held at Constantinople ; and the 
authors, as well as the defenders, of the three chapters 
were separated from the communion of the saints, and sol- 
emnly delivered to the prince of darkness. But the Latin 
churches were more jealous of the honor of Leo and the 
synod of Chalcedon : and if they had fought as they 
usually did under the standard of Rome, they might have 
prevailed in the cause of reason and humanity. But their 
chief was a prisoner in the hands of the enemy; the throne 
of St. Peter, which had been disgraced by the simony, was 
betrayed by the coAvardice, of Vigilius, who yielded, after 
a long and inconsistent struggle, to the despotism of Jus- 
tinian and the sophistry of the Greeks. His apostasy pro- 
voked the indignation of the Latins, and no mere than two 
bishops could be found who would impose their hands en 
his deacon and successor Pelagius. Yet the perseverance 
of the popes insensibly transferred to their adversaries the 
appellation of schismatics ; the Ulyrian, African, and Ital- 
ian churches were oppressed by the civil and ecclesiastical 



148 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

powers, not without some effort of military force ; 97 the 
distant Barbarians transcribed the creed of the Vatican, 
and, in the period of a century, the schism of the three 
chapters expired in an obscure angle of the Venetian prov- 
ince. 98 But the religious discontent of the Italians had al- 
ready prompted the conquests of the Lombards, and the 
Romans themselves were accustomed to suspect the faith 
and to detest the government of their Byzantine tyrant. 

Justinian was neither steady nor consistent in the nice 
process of fixing his volatile opinions and those of his sub- 
jects. In his youth he was offended by the slightest devia- 
tion from the orthodox line ; in his old nge he transgressed 
the measure of temperate heresy, and the Jacobites, not 
less than the Catholics, were scandalized by his declaration, 
that the body of Christ was incorruptible, and that his 
manhood was never subject to any wants and infirmities, 
the inheritance of our mortal flesh. This fantastic opinion 
was announced in the last edicts of Justinian ; and at the 
moment of his seasonable departure, the clergy had re- 
fused to subscribe, the prince was prepared to persecute, 
and the people were resolved to suffer or resist. A bishop 
of Treves, secure beyond the limits of his power, addressed 
the monarch of the East in the language of authority and 
affection. " Most gracious Justinian, remember your bap- 
tism and your creed. Let not your gray hairs be defiled 
with heresy. Recall your fathers from exile, and your fol- 
lowers from perdition. You cannot be ignorant, that Italy 
and Gaul, Spain and Africa, already deplore your fall, and 
anathematize your name. Unless, without delay, you de- 
stroy what you have taught ; unless you exclaim with a 
loud voice, I have erred, I have sinned, anathema to Nes- 
torius, anathema to Eutyches, you deliver your soul to the 
same flames in which they will eternally burn." He died 
and made no sign." His death restored in some degree the 

9T See the complaints of Liberatus and Victor, and the exhortations of Pope 
Pclagius to the conqueror and exarch of Italy. Schisma .... per potestates 
publicas opprimatur, &c. (Concil. torn. vi. p. 4G7, &c). An army was detained to 
suppress the sedition of an lllyrian city. 'See Procopius (tie Bell. Goth. 1. iv. c. 

25): uvnep eweKa cr^laiv avTOi? oi Xptcrnavol ita/xa^ovrai. He seems to promise ail 

ecclesiastical history. It wou]d have been curious and impartial. 

9a The bishops of the patriarchate of Aquileia were reconciled by Pope Hono- 
rius, A. D. 638 (Muratori, Annali d' Italia, torn. v. p. 37G) ; but they again ro- 
lapsed, and the schism was not finally extinguished till (598. Fourteen years 
before, the church of Spain had overlooked the vth general council with con- 
temptuous silence (xiii. Concil. Toletan. in Concil. torn. vii. pp. 487-494). 

9J Isicetius, bishop of Treves (Concil. torn. vi. pp. 511-513) : he himself, like 
most of the Gallican prelates (Gregor. Enist. 1. vii. ex. 5, in Concil. torn. vi. p. 
1007). was separated from the communion of the four patriarchs by his refusal to 
condemn the three chapters. Baronius almost pronounces the damnation of 
Justinian (A. L>. 505, No. C). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 119 

peace of the church, and the reigns of his four successors, 
Justin, Tfiberius, Maurice, and Phocas, are distinguished by 
a rare, though fortunate, vacancy in the ecclesiastical his- 
tory of the East, 100 

The faculties of sense and reason are least capable of act- 
ing on themselves ; the eye is most inaccessible to the sight, 
the soul to the thought ; yet we think, and even feel, that 
one vnll, a sole principle of action, is essential to a rational 
and conscious being. When Heraclius returned from the 
Persian war, the orthodox hero consulted his bishops, 
whether the Christ whom lie adored, of one person, but of 
two natures, was actuated by a single or a double will. 
They replied in the singular, and the emperor was encour- 
aged to hope that the Jacobites of Egypt and Syria might 
be reconciled by the profession of a doctrine, most certainly 
harmless, and most probably true, since it was taught even 
by the Nestorians themselves. 101 The experiment was tried 
without effect, and the timid or vehement Catholics con- 
demned even the semblance of a retreat in the presence of a 
subtle and audacious enemy. The orthodox (the prevailing) 
party devised new modes of speech, and argument, and in- 
terpretation : to either nature of Christ they speciously ap- 
plied a proper and distinct energy ; but the difference was 
no longer visible when they allowed that the human and the 
divine will were invariably the same. 102 The disease was at- 
tended with the customary symptoms : but the Greek clergy, 
as if satiated with the endless controversy of the incarna- 
tion, instilled a healing counsel into the ear of the prince 
and people. They declared themselves monotiielites (as- 
serters of the unity of will), but they treated the words as 
new, the questions as superfluous; and recommended a re- 
ligious silence as the most agreeable to the prudence and 
charity of the gospel. This law of silence was successively 

100 After relating the last juresy of Justinian (1. iv. c. 30, 40, 41), and the edict 
of his successor (1. v. c. 3), the remainder of the history of Evagrius is lilled with 
civil, instead of ecclesiastical, events. 

11 This extraordinary, and perhaps inconsistent, doctrine of the Nestorians, 
had been observed by La Croze (Christianisme des Indes, torn. i. pp. 10, 20), and 
is more fully exposed by Abulpharagius (Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. p. 202. Ilist. 
Dynast, p- 01, vers. Latin. Pocock), and Asseman himself (torn. iv. p. 21K). They 
seem ignorant that they might allege the positive authority of the ecthesis. 

'O /lu'apos NecrTopicrs Kainep Siaipuii' t/jv Si.ei.av rov Kvfiiav evavOpunrriaii', koll 6'uo 

tirrnytDv vlork (the common reproach of the Monophysites), Svo $c\rni.o.Ta.~TovTo)v 

fiTrci.f ovk eToAuncrf, TOUfai'Tiov 6e ravro {Sov\iav roiv .... ,}vo irp6<ju>nu>v ecir'f acre 
(Concil. torn. vii. p. 205). 

10 - See the Orthodox faith in Petavius (Dogmata Theolog. torn. v. 1. ix. c. G-10, 
pp. 433-447) : — all the depths of this controversy are pounded in the Greek dia- 
logue between Maximus and Pyrrhus (ad calcem torn- viii. Annal. Baron, pp. 
7f>5-794), which relates a real coiiference, and produced as short-lived a conver- 
sion. 



150 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

imposed by the ecthesis or exposition of Heraclius, the type 
or model of his grandson Constans ; 103 and the imperial 
edicts were subscribed with alacrity or reluctance by the 
four patriarchs of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and 
Antioch. But the bishop and monks of Jerusalem sounded 
the alarm : in the language, or even in the silence, of the 
Greeks, the Latin churches detected a latent heresy : and 
the obedience of Pope Honorius to the commands of his 
sovereign was retracted and censured by the bolder igno- 
rance of his successors. They condemned the execrable and 
abominable heresy of the Monothelites, who revived the er- 
rors of Manes, Apollinaris, Eutyches, &c. ; they signed the 
sentence of excommunication on the tomb of St. Peter ; the 
ink was mingled w T ith the sacramental wine, the blood of 
Christ ; and no ceremony was omitted that could fill the 
superstitious mind with horror and affright. As the repre- 
sentative of the Western church, Pope Martin and his Lat- 
eran synod anathematized the perfidious and guilty silence 
of the Greeks: one hundred and five bishops of Italy, for 
the most part the subjects of Constans, presumed to reprobate 
his wicked type, and the impious ecthesis of his grandfather ; 
and to confound the authors and their adherents with the 
twenty-one notorious heretics, the apostates from the church, 
and the organs of the devil. Such an insult under the ta- 
mest reign could not pass with impunity. Pope Martin end- 
ed his days on the inhospitable shore of the Tauric Cherson- 
esus, and his oracle, the abbot Maximus, was inhumanly 
chastised by the amputation of his tongue and his right 
hand. 104 But the same invincible spirit survived in their 
successors ; and the triumph of the Latins avenged their re- 
cent defeat, and obliterated the disgrace of the three chap- 
ters. The synods of Rome were confirmed by the sixth 
general council of Constantinople, in the palace and the 
presence of a new Constantine, a descendant of Heraclius. 
The royal convert converted the Byzantine pontiff and a 
majority of the bishops ; 105 the dissenters, with their chief, 

'to Impiissimam ecthesim .... sceleroeum typum (Concil. torn. vii. p. 366) 
diabolicae operationis genimina (fors. c/erm,ina, or else the Greek ytv -nuara in the 
original. Coneil. pp. 363, 364), are the expressions of the xviiith anathema. The 
epistle of Pope Mar! in to Amandus, a Gallican bishop, stigmatizes the Monothe- 
lites and their heresy with equal virulence (p. 3f«2>. 

10 * The sufferings of Martin and Maximus are described with pathetic simplic- 
ity in their original letters and acts (Coneil. torn vii. pp. 63-78. Baron. Annal. 
Eccles. A. D. 656. No. 2, et annos subsequent). Yet the chastisment of their dis- 
obedience, f£6->ia and <r<av.aTo<; alKi<Tfj.o<;. had been previously announced in the 
Types. Constans (Concil. torn vii. p. 240.) 

105 Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. p. 368) mr>at, erroneously supposes that the 124 
bishops of the Roman svnod transported themselves to Constantinople ; and by 
adding them to the 168 Greeks, thus composes the sixth council of 292 fathers. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 151 

Macarius of Antioch, were condemned to the spiritual and 
temporal pains of heresy; the East condescended to accept 
the lessons of the West ; and the creed was finally settled, 
which teaches the Catholics of every age, that two wills or 
energies are harmonized in the person of Christ. The maj- 
esty of the pope and the Roman synod was represented by 
two priests, one deacon, and three bishops ; but these ob- 
scure Latins had neither arms to compel, nor treasures to 
bribe, nor language to persuade; and I am ignorant by 
what arts they could determine the lofty emperor of the 
Greeks to abjure the catechism of his infancy, and to perse- 
cute the religion of his fathers. Perhaps the monks and 
people of Constantinople 106 were favorable to the Lateran 
creed, which is indeed the least reasonable of the two : and 
the suspicion is countenanced by the unnatural moderation 
of the Greek clergy, who appear in this quarrel to be con- 
scious of their weakness. While the synod debated, a fa- 
natic proposed a more summary decision, by raising a dead 
man to life : the prelates assisted at the trial ; but the ac- 
knowledged failure may serve to indicate, that the passions 
and prejudices of the multitude were not enlisted on the 
side of the Monothelites. In the next generation, when the 
son of Constantine was deposed and slain by the disciple of 
Macarius, they tasted the feast of revenge and dominion : 
the image or monument of the sixth council was defaced, and 
the original acts were committed to the flames. But in the 
second year, their patron was cast headlong from the throne, 
the bishops of the East were released from their occasional 
conformity, the Roman faith was more firmly replanted by 
the orthodox successors of Bardanes, and the fine problems 
of the incarnation were forgotten in the more popular and 
visible quarrel of the worship of images. 107 

Before the end of the seventh century, the creed of the 
incarnation, which had been defined at Rome and Constan- 
tinople, was uniformly preached in the remote islands of 
Britain and Ireland ; 108 the same ideas were entertained, or 

106 The Monothelite Constans was hated by all, Sia rot ravra (says Theophanes, 
Chron. p. 292) e^iay'iQr) cr^oSpcu? 7ra7ra irdvTuji'. When the Monothelite monk failed 
in his miracle, the people shouted, 6A.ab? ave^orja-i (Concil torn. vii. p. 1032) But 
this was a natural and transieiit emotion ; and I much fear that the latter is an 
anticipation of orthodoxy in the rood people of < onstantinople. 

1,7 The history of Monothtdi'ism mav be found in the Acts of the Svnods of 
Rome (torn. vii. pr>. 77-395, 601-608) an I Constantinople (pp. 600-1420). Baronius 
extracted some original documents from the Vatican library ; and his chronology 
is rectif'ed by the diligence of Pngi. Kven Dupin (Bibliotheque Eccles. torn. vi. 
pp. 57-71) and Basnage (Hist, de 1'Eglise, torn. i. pp. 511-555) afford a tolerable 
abridgment. 

103 In the Lateran synod of 679, Wi If red, an Anglo-Saxon bishop, subscribed 



152 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

rather the same words were repeated, by all the Christians 
whose liturgy was performed in the Greek or the Latin tongue. 
Their numbers, and visible splendor, bestowed an imperfect 
claim to the appellation of Catholics ; but in the East, they 
were marked with the less honorable name of Mtlchites, or 
Royalists; 109 of men, whose faith, instead of resting on the 
basis of Scripture, reason, or tradition, had been established, 
and was still maintained, by the arbitrary power of a tem- 
poral monarch. Their adversaries might allege the words 
of the fathers of Constantinople, who profess themselves the 
slaves of the king ; and they might relate, with malicious 
joy, how the decrees of Chalcedon had been inspired and 
reformed by the emperor Marcian and iiis virgin bride. 
The prevailing faction will naturally inculcate the duty of 
submission, nor is it less natural that dissenters should feel 
and assert the principles of freedom. Under the rod of per- 
secution, the Nestorians and Monophysites degenerated into 
rebels and fugitives ; and the most ancient and useful allies 
of Rome were taught to consider the emperor not as the 
chief, but as the enemy of the Christians. Language, the 
leading principle which unites or separates the tribes of man- 
kind, soon discriminated the sectaries of the East, by a pe- 
culiar and perpetual badge, which abolished the means of 
intercourse and the hope of reconciliation. The long do- 
minion of the Greeks, their colonies, and, above all, their 
eloquence, had propagated a language doubtless the most 
perfect that has been contrived by the art of man. Yet the 
body of the people, both in Syria and Egypt, still persevered 
in the use of their national idioms; with this difference, how- 
pro omni Aquilonan p;,rte Britannia* et HTbeniia . qua? ah Anglorrm et BrHo- 
num, necnon Scotorum et Pietorum pen ti bus colehantnr (Pddins. in Viti St. Wil- 
frid, c. 31, apud Pagi, Critiea, torn. iii. p. $*). Theodora (magna* jnsube Rritm- 
nire archiepiscopus et philosophus) was long expected at Pome (Concil. torn, vii 
p 714). hut he contented himself with holding (A. D. (>£0) his provincial synod of 
Hatfield, in which he receiyed the decrees of Pope Martin and the first I.ateran 
council against the Monothelites (Concil torn. vii. p. 597, &c.\ Theodore, a monk 
of Tarsus in Cilieia.. had heen named to the prima.cv of Britain by Pope Vital 
ian (A. T>. BKS ; see Baronius and Pagi>. whos<* esteem for his learning and piety 
was tainted by some distrust of his national character— ne quid contrarium ver- 
itnti t'dei. Ctra>cornm more, in ecclesiam cui pneesset Introduoeret. The ("iliciau 
was sent from Pome to Canterbury under the tuition of an African guide (Bedre 
TTist. Eccles Anglorum, 1. iv. e. 1). He adhered to the Roman doctrine : and the 
same creed of the incarnation has been uniformly transmitted from Theodore to 
the modern primates, whose sound understanding is perhaps seldom engaged 
with that abstruse mystery. 

!(, ° This name, unknown till the xth cen'ury. apnoars to b<* of Syri a c origin. 
It was invented by the Jacobites, and eacrerly adopted by the Nestona.ns and "Ma- 
hometans ; but it was accepted without shame by 1he Catholics, and is frequently 
used in the Annals of Kutvehius (Assenian. Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. p. . r >07, <$. r c, 
lorn, iii p. 35K. Renaudot. Hist. Patriarch. Alft\andrl«. p. 1191. 'Hue?« SovXm toO 
Barr.AFio?, was the acclamation of the fathers of Constantinople (Condi, torn. vii. 
p. 765). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 153 

ever, that the Coptic was confined to the rurlo and illiterate 
peasants of the Nile, while the Syriac, 110 from the mountains 
of Assyria to the Rea Sea, was adapted to the higher topics 
of poetry and argument. Armenia and Abyssinia were in- 
fected by the speech or learning of the Greeks ; and their 
Barbaric tongues, which have been revived in the studies of 
modern Europe, were unintelligible to the inhabitants of the 
Roman empire. The Syriac and the Coptic, the Armenian 
and the iEthiopie, are consecrated in the service of their re- 
spective churches : and their theology is enriched by dome:u 
tic versions 111 both of the Scriptures* and of the most popu- 
lar fathers. After a period of thirteen hundred and sixty 
years, the spark of controversy, first kindled by a sermon of 
Nestorius, still burns in the bosom of the East, and the hos- 
tile communions still maintain the faith and discipline of 
their founders. In the most abject state of ignorance, pov- 
erty, and servitude, the Nestorians and Monophysites reject 
the spiritual supremacy d Rome, and cherish the toleration 
of their Turkish masters, which allows them to anathematize, 
on the one hand, St. Cyril and the synod of Ephesus : on the 
other, Pope Leo and the council of Chalcedon. The weight 
which they cast into the downfall of the Eastern empire de- 
mands our notice, and the reader may be amused with the 
various prospect of, I. The Nestorians; II. The Jacobites; 112 
III. The Maronites; IV. The Armenians; V. The Copts ; 
and, VI. The Abyssinians. To the three former, the Syriac 
is common ; but of the latter, each is discriminated by the 
use of a national idiom. Yet the modern natives of Armenia 
and Abyssinia would be incapable of conversing with their 
ancestors ; and the Christians of Egypt and Syria, who re- 

110 The Svriae, which the natives revere as the primitive language, was divided 
into three dialects. 1. The Aramcrav, as it was refined a" Edessa and the. cities 
of Mesopotamia. 2. The Palestine, which was used in Jerusalem, Damascus, and 
the rest of Syria. 3. The Nahathatan, the rustic idiom of the mountains of As- 
syria and the villages of Irak (Gregor. Ahulpharag. Hist, Dynast, p. 11). On 
the Syriac, see Kbed-Jesu (Asseman. torn. iii. p. 326, &c.) whose prejudice alone 
could prefer it to the Arabic. 

111 I shall not enrich mv ignorance with the spoils of Simon. Walton, Mill, Wet- 
stein, Assemannus, Ludolphus, La Croze, whom I have consulted with some care. 
It appears. 1. That, of all the versions which are celebrated by the fathers, it is 
doubtful whether any are now extant in their pristine integrity. 2. Tliat the 
Syriac has the best claim, and that the consent of the Oriental sects isn proof that 
it i.- - more ancient than Iheir schism. 

112 In the account of the Monophysites and Nestorians, I am deeply indebted 
to the Pibliotbeca OrientalisOlementino-Vatieanaof doseph Simon Assemannus. 
That learned Maronite was despatched, in the year 1715. by Pope Cl°ment XI. to 
visit the monasteries of Egypt and Syria, in search of MSS. His four folio vol- 
umes, published at Pome 1710-1728, contain a piitt only, though perhaps the most 
valuable, of his extensive proiect. As a native and as a scholar, he possessed the 
Syriac lit-erature ; and, though a dependant of Rome, he wishes to be moderate 
and candid. 



154 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

jeet the religion, have adopted the language of the Arabians. 
The lapse of time has seconded the sacerdotal arts ; and in 
the East, as well as in the West, the Deity is addressed in 
an obsolete tongue, unknown to the majority of the congre- 
gation. 

I. Both in his native and his episcopal province, the her- 
esy of the unfortunate Nestorius was speedily obliterated. 
The Oriental bishops, who at Ephesus had resisted to his 
face the arrogance of Cyril, were mollified by his tardy con- 
cessions. The same prelates* or their successors, subscribed, 
not without a murmur, the decrees of Chalcedon ; the power 
of the Monophysites reconciled them with the Catholics in 
the conformity of passion, of interest, and, insensibly, of be- 
lief : and their last reluctant sigh was breathed in the de- 
fence of the three chapters. Their dissenting brethren, less 
moderate, or more sincere, were crushed by the penal laws; 
and, as early as the reign of Justinian, it became difficult to 
find a church of Nestorians within the limits of the Roman 
empire. Beyond those limits they had discovered a new 
world, in which they might hope for liberty, and aspire to 
conquest. In Persia, notwithstanding the resistance of the 
Magi, Christianity had struck a deep root, and the nations 
of the East reposed under its salutary shade. The catholic, 
or primate, resided in the capital : in his synods, and in 
their .dioceses, his metropolitans, bishops, and clergy, repre- 
sented the pomp and order of a regular hierarchy ; they re- 
joiced in the increase of proselytes, who were converted 
from the Zendavesta to the gospel, from the secular to the 
monastic life ; and their zeal was stimulated by the presence 
of an artful and. formidable enemy. The Persian church 
had been founded by the missionaries of Syria, and their 
language, discipline, and doctrine, were closely interwoven 
with its original frame. The catholics were elected and or- 
dained by their own suffragans ; but their filial dependence 
on the patriarch of Antioch is attested by the canons of the 
Oriental church. 113 In the Persian school of Edessa, 114 the 

113 See the Arabic canons of Nice in the translation of Abraham Ecchelensis, 
No. 37, 38, 39, 40. Concil. torn. ii. pp. 335, ."36, edit. Venet. These vulgar titles, 
Nicene and Arabic, are both apocryphal. The council of Nice enacted no more 
than twenty canons (Theodoret, Hist. Eccles. 1. i. c. 8); and the remainder, 
seventy or eighty, were collected from the synods of the Greek church. The 
Syriae edition of Maruthas is no longer extant (Asseman. Bibliot. Oriental, torn. 
i. p. 195, torn. iii. p. 71), and the Arabic version is marked with many recent in- 
terpolations. Yet this Code contains many curious relics of ecclesiastical disci- 
pline ; and since it is equally revered by all the Eastern communions, it was 
probably finished before the schism of fae Nestorians and Jacobites (Fabric. Bib- 
liot. Graec. torn. xi. pp. 3t>3-3(i7). 

1] * Theodore the Header (I. ii. c. 5, 49, ad calcem Hist. Eccles.) has noticed this 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 155 

rising generations of the faithful imbibed their theological 
idiom ; they studied in the Syriac version the ten thousand 
volumes of Theodore of Mopsuestia ; and they revered the 
apostolic faith and holy martyrdom of his disciple Nesto- 
rius, whose person and language were equally unknown to 
the nations beyond the Tigris. The first indelible lesson 
of Ibas, bishop of Edessa, taught them to execrate the 
Egyptians, who, in the synod of Ephesus, had impiously 
confounded the two natures of Christ. The flight of the 
masters and scholars, who were twice expelled from the 
Athens of Syria, dispersed a crowd of missionaries inflamed 
by the double zeal of religion and revenge. And the rigid 
unity of the Monophysites, who, under the reigns of Zeno 
and Anastasius, had invaded the thrones of the East, pro- 
voked their antagonists, in a land of freedom, to avow a 
moral, rather than a physical, union of the two persons of 
Christ. Since the first preaching of the gospel, the Sassa- 
itian kings beheld with an eye of suspicion a race of aliens 
and apostates, who had embraced the religion, and who 
might favor the cause, of the hereditary foes of their coun- 
try. The royal edicts had often prohibited their dangerous 
correspondence with the Syrian clergy ; the progress of the 
schism was grateful to the jealous pride of Pezores, and he 
listened to the eloquence of an artful prelate, who painted 
Nestorius as the friend of Persia, and urged him to secure 
the fidelity of his Christian subjects, by granting a just 
preference to the victims and enemies of the Roman tyrant. 
The Nestorians composed a large majority of the clergy and 
people ; they were encouraged by the smile, and armed with 
the sword, of despotism ; yet many of their weaker breth- 
ren were startled at the thought of breaking loose from the 
communion of the Christian world, and the blood of seven 
thousand seven hundred Monophysites, or Catholics, con- 
firmed the uniformity of faith and discipline in the churches 
of Persia. 115 Their ecclesiastical institutions are distin- 
guished by a liberal principle of reason, or at least of pol- 
icy ; the austerity of the cloister was relaxed and gradually 
forgotten ; houses of charity were endowed for the educa- 

Persian school of Edessa. Its ancient splendor, and the two reras of its downfall 
(A. D. 431 and 489) are clearly disci:ssed bv Assemanni (Biblioth. Orient, torn. ii. 
p. 402, iii. pp. 376, 378, iv. pp. 70. 924). 

115 A dissertation on the state of the Nestorians has swelled in the hnnds of 
Assemanni to a folio volume of 950 pages, and his learned researches are digested 
in the most lucid order. Besides this ivth volume of the Bihihotheca Or'tenlatis, 
the extracts in the three preceding tomes (torn. i. p. 203, ii. p. 321-1G.J, iii. 04-70, 
378-395, &c., 403-408, 580-589) ma* bj usefully consulted. 



156 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

tion of orphans and foundlings ; the law of celibacy, so for- 
cibly recommended to the Greeks and Latins, "was disre- 
garded by the Persian clergy; and the number of the elect 
was multiplied by the public and reiterated nuptials of the 
priests, the bishops, and even the patriarch himself. To 
this standard of natural itnd religious freedom, myriads of 
fugitives resorted from all the provinces of the Eastern em- 
pire ; the narrow bigotry of Justinian was punished by the 
emigration of his most industrious subjects ; they trans- 
ported into Persia the arts both of peace and war ; and 
those who deserved the favor, were promoted in the ser- 
vice, of a discerning monarch. The arms of Nuslnrvan, 
and his fiercer grandson, were assisted with advice, and 
money, and troops, by the desperate sectaries who still 
lurked in their native cities of the East; their zeal was re- 
warded with the gift of the Catholic churches; but when 
those cities and churches were recovered by Herachus, 
their open profession of treason and heresy compelled them 
to seek a refuge in the realm of their foreign ally. But the 
seeming tranquillity of the Nestorians was often endan- 
gered, and sometimes overthrown. They were involved in 
the common evils of Oriental despotism ; their enmity to 
Rome could not always atone for their attachment to the 
gospel ; and a colony of three hundred thousand Jacobites, 
the captives of Apamea and Antioch, was permitted to 
erect a hostile altar in the face of the catholic, and in the 
sunshine' of the court. In his last treaty, Justinian intro- 
duced some conditions which tended to enlarge and fortify 
the toleration of Christianity in Persia. The emperor, ig- 
norant of the rights of conscience, was incapable of pity or 
esteem for the heretics who denied the authority of the holy 
synods; but he flattered himself that they would gradually 
perceive the temporal benefits of union with the empire and 
the church of Rome ; and if lie failed in exciting their grat- 
itude, he might hope to provoke the jealousy of their sov 
ereign. In a later age the Lutherans have been burnt at 
Paris, and protected in Germany, by the superstition and 
policy of the most Christian king. 

The desire of gaining souls for God and subjects for the 
church, has excited in every age the diligence of the Chris- 
tian priests. From the conquest of Persia they carried their 
spiritual arms to the north, the east, and the south ; and the 
simplicity of the gospel was fashioned and painted with the 
colors of the Syriac theology. In the sixth century, accord- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 157 

ing to the report of a Nestorian traveller, 110 Christianity was 
successfully preached to the Bactrians, the Huns, the Per- 
sians, the Indians, the Persarmenians, the Medes, and the 
Elamites ; the Barbaric churches, from the Gulf of Persia 
to the Caspian Sea, were almost infinite ; and their recent 
faith was conspicuous in the number and sanctity of their 
monks and martyrs. The pepper coast of Malabar, and the 
isles of ill i cean, Socotora and Ceylon, were peopled with 
an increasing multitude of Christians ; and the bishops and 
clergy of those sequestered regions derived their ordination 
from the Catholic of Babylon. In a subsequent age the 
zeal of the Nestorians overleaped the limits which had con- 
fined the ambition and curiosity both of the Greeks and 
Persians. The missionaries of Balch and Samarcand pur- 
sued without fear the footsteps of the roving Tartar, and 
insinuated themselves into the camps of the valleys of Imaus 
and the banks of the Selinga. They exposed a metaphysical 
creed to those illiterate shepherds; to those sanguinary war- 
riors, they recommended humanity and repose. Yet a 
khan, whose power they vainly magnified, is said to have 
received at their hands the rites of baptism, and even of or- 
dination ; and the fame of JPrester or Presbyter John m has 
long amused the credulity of Europe. The royal convert 
was indulged in the use of a portable altar; but he de- 
spatched an embassy to the patriarch, to inquire how, in tha 
season of Lent, he should abstain from animal food, and 

1,0 See the Topographia Christiana of Cosmas, surnamed Indicopleustes, or the 
Indian navigator, 1. iii. pp. 178, 179, 1. xi. p. 337. The entire work, of which some curi 
ous extracts may be found ill Photius (cod. xxxvi. p. 9, 10, edit. Hoeschel) Thevenot 
(in the 1st part of his Relation des Voyages, See.), and Fabricius (Bibliot. Grnee. 
1. iii. c. 25, torn. ii. pp. 603-G17), has been published by Father Montfaucon at Paris, 
1707, in the Nova Collectio Patrum (torn, ii. pp. 113-346). It was the design of the 
author to confute the impious heresy of those who maintained that the earth is a 
globe, and not a flat, oblong table, as it is represented in the Scriptures (1. ii. p. 
138). But the nonsense of the monk is mingled with the practical knowledge of 
the traveller, who performed his voyage A. D. 522, and published his book at 
Alexandria, A. I). 517 (1. ii. pp. 140, 141. Montfaucon, Prsefat. c. 2). The Nes- 
torianism of Cosmas, unknown to his learned editor, was detected by La Croze 
Christianisme des Indes (torn. i. pp. 40-C5), and is confirmed by Assemanni (Bib- 
liot. Orient, torn. iv. pp. COG, G05). 

117 In its long progress to Mosul, Jerusalem, Rome, &e., the story of Pres'er 
John evaporated in a monstrous fable, of which some features have been bor- 
rowed from the Lama of Thibet (Hist. Genealogique de< Tartares, P. ii. p. 42. 
Hist. deGengiscan, p. 31. &c), and were ignorantlv transferred by the Portuguese 
to the emperor of Abyssinia (Ludolph. Hist. ^Ethi op. Comment. 1. ii. c. 1). Yet it 
is probable that in the xith and xiith centuries, Nestorian Christianity was pro- 
fessed in the horde of the Keraites (D'Herbelot, pp. 25G, 915, 959- Assemanni, 
torn. iv. pp. 468-504).* 



* The extent to which Nestorian Christianity prevailed nmoii" the Tartar tribes 
faone of the most curious questions in Oriental history. M. Schmidt (Ceschich'o 
dei Ost Mongolen, notes, p. 383) appears to question the Christianity of Ong 
Chaghan, and his Keraite subjects.— M. 



158 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

> 

how ho might celebrate the Eucharist in a desert that pro- 
duced neither corn nor wine. In their progress by sea and 
land, the Nestorians entered China by the port of Canton 
and the northern residence of Sigan. Unlike the senators 
of Rome, who assumed with a smile the characters of priests 
and augurs, the mandarins, who affect in public the reason 
of philosophers, are devoted in private to every mode ot" 
popular superstition. They cherished and they confounded 
the gods of Palestine and of India; but the propagation of 
Christianity awakened the jealousy of the state, and, after 
a short vicissitude of favor and persecution, the foreign sect 
expired in ignorance and oblivion. 118 Under the reign of 
the caliphs, the Nestorian church was diffused from China 
to Jerusalem and Cyprus ; and their numbers, with those of 
the Jacobites, were computed to surpass the Greek and 
Latin communions. 110 Twenty-five metropolitans or arch- 
bishops composed their hierarchy ; but several of these were 
dispensed, by the distance and danger of the way, from the 
duty of personal attendance, on the easy condition that 
every six years they should testify their faith and obedience 

118 The Christianity of China, between the seventh and the thirteenth cen- 
tury, is invincibly proved by the consent of Chinese, Arabian, Syriac. and Latin 
evidence (Assemanni, Biblioth. Orient, torn. iv. pp. 502-552. Mem de 1'Academie 
des lnscript. torn. xxx. pp. 802-819). The inscription of Siganfu which describes 
the fortunes of the Nestorian church, from the first mis i >u, A. D. G3G, to the cur- 
rent ylTar 781, is accused of forgery by La Croze, Voltaire, &c, who become the 
dupes of their own cunning, while they are afraid of a <L saitieal fraud.* 

110 Jacobitae et Nestorianse plurts quam Graeci et Latini. Jacobitss Vitriaco, 
Hist. Hierosol. 1. ii. c. 76, p. 1093, in the Gesta Dei per Francos. The numbers are 
given by Thomassin, Discipline de l'Eglise, torn. i. p. 172. 



* This famous monument, the authenticity of which many have attempted to 
impeach, rather from hatred to the Jesuits, by whom it was made known, than by 
a candid examination of its contents, is now generally considered above all suspi- 
cion. The Chinese text and the facts which it relates are equally strong proofs 
of its authenticity. This monument was raised as a memorial ot the establish- 
ment of Christianity in China. It is dated the year 1092 of the era of the Greeks, 
or the Seleucidre, A. D. 781, in the time of the Nestorian patriarch Anan-jesu. 
It was raised by lezdbouzid, priest and ehorepiscopusof Chutndan, that is, of the 
capital of the Chinese empire, and the son of a priest who came from Balkh in Tok- 
haristan. Among the various arguments which may be urged in favor of the au- 
thenticity of this monument, and which has not yet been advanced, may be reck- 
oned the name of the priest by whom it was raised. The name is Persian, and at the 
time the monument was discovered, it would have been impossible to have imag- 
ined it ; for there was no work extant from whence the knowledge of it could be de- 
rived. I do not believe that even since this period, any book has been published 
in which it can be found a second time. It is very celebrated amongst the Arme- 
nians, and is derived from a martyr, a Persian by birth, of the royal race, who 
perished towards the middle of the seventh century, and rendered hi - name cele- 
brated among the Christian nations of the East. St. Martin, vol. i. p. 69. M. 
Remusat has also strongly expressed his conviction of the authenticity of this 
monument. Melanges Asiatiques, P. i. p. 33. D'Ohson, in his History of the 
Moguls, concurs in this view. Yet M. Schmidt (Geschichte der Ost Mongolen, p. 
384) denies that there is any satisfactory proof that such a monument wa ever 
found in China, or that it was not manufactured in Europe. But if the Jesuits 
had attempted such a forgery, would it not have been more adapted to further 
their peculiar views ?— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 159 

to the catholic or patriarch of Babylon, a vague appellation 
which had been successively applied to the royal seats of 
Seleucia, Ctesiphon, and Bagdad. These remote branches 
are long since withered ; and the old patriarchal trunk 1:o is 
now divided by the Elijahs of Mosul, the representatives 
almost in lineal descent of the genuine and primitive suc- 
cession ; the Josephs of Amida, who are reconciled to the 
church of Rome ; 121 and the Simeons of Van or Ormia, 
whose revolt, at the head of forty thousand families, was 
promoted in the sixteenth century by the Sophis of Persia. 
The number of three hundred thousand is allowed for the 
whole body of the Nestorians, who, under the name of Chal- 
deans or Assyrians, are confounded with the most learned or 
the most powerful nation of Eastern antiquity. 

According to the legend of antiquity the cospei was 
preached in India by St. Thomas. 122 At the end of the 
ninth century, his shrine, perhaps in the neighborhood of 
Madras, was devoutly visited by the ambassadors of Alfred ; 
and their return with a cargo of pearls and spices rewarded 
the zeal of the English monarch, who entertained the largest 
projects of trade and discovery. 123 When the Portuguese 
first opened the navigation of India, the Christians of St. 
Thomas had been seated for ages on the coast of Malabar, 
and the difference of their character and color attested the 
mixture of a foreign race. In arms, in arts rf and possibly in 
virtue, they excelled the natives of Hindostan ; the hus- 
bandmen cultivated the palm-tree, the merchants were en- 
riched by the pepper trade, the soldiers preceded the nairs 

W The division of the patriarchate may be traced in the Bibliotheca Orient, 
of Assemanni, torn. i. p. 523-549, torn. ii. p. 457, &c, torn. iii. p. C03, pp. C21-G23, 
tom. iv. pp. 164-KJ9, p. 423, pp. 622-629, &c. 

J- 1 The pompous language of Rome on the submission of a Nestorian patri- 
arch is elegantly represented in the viitli hook of Era Paola, Babylon, Nineveh. 
Arbela, and the trophies of Alexander, Tauris, and Ecbatana, the Tigris and 
Indus. 

i2 - The Indian missionary, St. Thomas, an apostle, a ManicTuean, or an Arme- 
nian merchant (La Croze, C'hristianisme des Indes, torn. i. pp. 57-70), was famous, 
however, as early as the time of Jerome (ad. Marcellam, epist. 148). Marco-Polo 
was informed on the spot that he suffered martyrdom in the city of Malabar, or 
Meliapour, a league only from Madias (D'Anville, Eclaii eissemens sur l'lnde. p. 
125), where the Portuguese founded an Episcopal church under the name of St. 
Thome, and where the saint performed an annual miracle, till he was silenced by 
the profane neighborhood of the English (La Croze, tom. ii. pp. 7-16). 

12J Neither the author of the Saxon Chronicle (A. D. 883) nor William of 
Malmesbury (de Gestis Regum Angliae, 1. Ji. c. 4, p. 44) were capable, in the 
twelfth century, of inventing this extraordinary fact ; they are incapable of ex- 
plaining the motives and measures of Alfred; and their hasty notice serves only 
to provoke our curiosity. William of Malmesbury feels the difficulty of the en- 
terprise, quod quivis in hoc sreeulo miretur ; and I almost suspect that the 
English ambassadors collected their cargo and legend in Egypt. The royal author 
has not enriched his Orosius (see Barrington's Miscellanies) with an Indian, as 
well as a Scandinavian, voyage. 



160 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

or nobles of Malabar, and their hereditary privileges were 
respected by the gratitude or the fear of the king of Cochin 
and the Zamorin himself. They acknowledged a Gentoo sov- 
ereign, but they were governed, even in temporal concerns, 
by the bishop of Angamala. He still asserted his ancient 
title of metropolitan of India, but his real jurisdiction wns 
exercised in fourteen hundred churches, and he was in- 
trusted with the care of two hundred thousand souls. 
Their religion would have rendered them the firmest and 
most cordial allies of the Portuguese ; but the inquisitors 
soon discerned in the Christians of St. Thomas the unpar- 
donable guilt of heresy and schism. Instead of owning them- 
selves the subjects of the Roman pontiff, the spiritual and 
temporal monarch of the globe, they adhered, like their an- 
cestors, to the communion of the Nestorian patriarch ; and 
the bishops whom he ordained at Mosul, traversed the dan- 
gers of the sea and land to reach their diocese on the coast 
of Malabar. In their Syriac liturgy the names of Theodore 
and Nestorius were piously commemorated : they united 
their adoration of the two persons of Christ ; the title of 
Mother of God was offensive to their ear, and they meas- 
ured with scrupulous avarice the honors of the Virgin Mary, 
whom the superstition of the Latins had almost exalted to 
the rank of a goddess. When her image was first presented 
to the disciples of St. Thomas, they indignantly exclaimed, 
" We are Christians, not idolaters ! " and their simple de- 
votion was content with the veneration of the cross. Their 
separation from the Western world had left them in igno- 
rance of the improvements, or corruptions, of a thousand 
years; and their conformity with the faith and practice of 
the fifth century would equally disappoint the prejudices of 
a Papist or a Protestant. It was the first care of the minis- 
ters of Rome to intercept all correspondence with the Nes- 
torian patriarch, and several of his bishops expired in the 
prisons of the holy office. The flock, without a shepherd, 
was assaulted by the power of the Portuguese, the arts of 
the Jesuits, and the zeal of Alexis de Menezes, archbishop of 
Goa, in his personal visitation of the coast of Malabar. 
The synod of Diamper, at which he presided, consummated 
the pious work of the reunion ; and rigorously imposed 
the doctrine and discipline of the Roman church, without 
forgetting auricular confession, the strongest engine of ec- 
clesiastical torture. The memory of Theodore and Nesto- 
rius was condemned, and Malabar was reduced under the 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 161 

dominion of the Pope, of the primate, and of the Jesuits 
who invaded the see of Angamala or Cranganor. Sixty 
years of servitude and hypocrisy were patiently endured ; 
but as soon as the Portuguese empire was shaken by the 
courage and industry of the Dutch, theNestorians asserted, 
with vigor and effect, the religion of their fathers. The 
Jesuits were incapable of defending the power which they 
had abused ; the arms of forty thousand Christians were 
pointed against their falling tyrants, and the Indian arch- 
deacon assumed the character of bishop, till a fresh supply 
of episcopal gifts and Syriac missionaries could be obtained 
from the patriarch of Babylon. Since the expulsion of the 
Portuguese, the Nestorian creed is freely professed on the 
coast of Malabar. The trading companies of Holland and 
England are the friends of toleration ; but if oppression be 
less mortifying than contempt, the Christians of St. Thomas 
have reason to complain of the cold and silent indifference 
of their brethren of Europe. 124 

II. The history of the Monophysites is less copious and 
interesting than that of the Nestorians. Under the reigns of 
Zeno and Anastasius, their artful leaders surprised the ear 
of the prince, usurped the thrones of the East, and crushed 
on its native soil the school of the Syrians. The rule of the 
Monophysite faith was defined with exquisite discretion by 
Severus, patriarch of Antioch : he condemned in the style 
of the Henoticon the adverse heresies of Nestorius and 
Eutyches; maintained against the latter the reality of the 
body of Christ, and constrained the Greeks to allow that he 
was a liar who spoke truth. 125 But the approximation of 
ideas could not abate the vehemence of passion ; each party 

12i Concerning the Christians of St. Thomas, see Assemann. Bibliot. Orient, 
torn, iv, pp. 391-407, 435-451 ; Geddes's Church History of Malabar ; and, above 
all, La Croze, Histoire du Christiauisme des Indes, in 2 vols. 12mo., La Haye, 
1758, a learned and agreeable work. They have drawn from the same source, the 
Portuguese and Italian narratives ; and the prejudices of the Jesuits are suffi- 
ciently corrected by those of the Protestants.* 

W8 Olov finely *ev6a\r}0r)<;, is the expression of Theodore, in his Treatise of the 
Incarnation, pp. 245, 247, as he is quoted by La Croze (Hist, du Christianisine 
d'Ethiopie et d'Armenie, p. 33), who exclaims, perhaps too hastily, " Quel pitoy- 
able raisonuement ! ' Renaudot has touched (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. pp. 127-138) 
the Oriental accounts of Severus ; and his authentic creed may be found in the 
epistle of John the Jacobite patriarch of Antioch. in the xth century, to his 
brother Mannas ot Alexandria (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. pp. 132-141). 



* The St. Thome Christians had excited great interest in the ardent mind of 
the admirable Bishop Heber, See his curious and, to his friends, highly charac- 
teristic letter to Mar Athanasius, Appendix to Journal. The arguments of his 
frjend and coadjutor, Mr. Robinson (Last Days of Bishop Heber) have not 
convinced me that the Christianity of India is older than the Nestorian disper- 
sion.— M. 

Vol. IV.— 11 



162 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

was tne more astonished that their blind antagonist could 
dispute on so trifling a difference ; the tyrant of Syria en- 
forced the belief of his creed, and his reign was polluted 
with the blood of three hundred and fifty monks, who were 
slain, not perhaps without provocation or resistance, under 
the walls of Apamea. 126 The successor of Anastasius re- 
planted the orthodox standard in the East; Severus fled 
into Egypt ; and his friend, the eloquent Xenaias, 127 who 
had escaped from the Nestorians of Persia, was suffocated 
in his exile by the Melchites of Paphlagonia. Fifty-four 
bishops were swept from their thrones, eight hundred eccle- 
siastics were cast into prison, 128 and notwithstanding the am- 
biguous favor of Theodora, the Oriental flocks, deprived of 
their shepherds, must insensibly have been either famished 
or poisoned. In this spiritual distress, the expiring faction 
was revived, and united, and perpetuated, by the labors of 
a monk ; and the name of James Baradasus 129 has been pre- 
served in the appellation of Jacobites, a familiar sound, 
which may startle the ear of an English reader. From the 
holy confessors in their prison of Constantinople, he received 
the powers of bishop of Edessa and apostle of the East, and 
the ordination of fourscore thousand bishops, priests, and 
deacons, is derived from the same inexhaustible source. 
The speed of the zealous missionary was promoted by the 
fleetest dromedaries of a devout chief of the Arabs ; the 
doctrine and discipline of the Jacobites were secretly es- 
tablished in the dominions of Justinian ; and each Jacobite 
was compelled to violate the laws and to hate the Roman 
legislator. The successors of Severus, while they lurked in 
convents or villages, while they sheltered their proscribed 

126 Epist. Archimandritarum et Monachorum Syriae Secundae ad Papam Hor- 
misdam. Concil. torn. v. pp. 598-602. The courage of St. Sabas, ut leo animosus, 
will justify the suspicion that the arms of these monks were not always spiritual 
op defensive (Baroriius, A. D. 513, No. 7, &c). 

"* Assemanni (Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. pp. 10-46) and La Croze (Christianisme 
d'Ethiopie, pp. 30-40) will supply the history of Xenaia?, or Philoxenus, hishop 
of Mabug, or Hierapolis, in Syria. He was a perfect master of the Syriae lan- 
guage, and the author or editor of a version of the New Testament. 

12s The names and titles of fifty-four bishops who were exiled by Justin, are 
preserved in the Chronicle of Dionysius (apud Assem*n. torn. ii. p. 54). Severus 
was personally summoned to Constantinople— for his trial, says Liberatus (Brev. 
c. 19)— that his tongue might be cut out, says Evagrius (1. iv. c. iv.) The prudent 
patriarch did not stav to examine the difference. This ecclesiastical revolution 
is fixed by Pagi to the month of September of the year 518 (Critica, torn. ji. p. 
50G). 

129 The obscure history of James or Jacobus Baradaeus, or Zanzalust, may b§ 
gathered from Eutychius (Annal. torn. ii. pp. 144. 147), Eenaudot (Hist. Patriarch. 
Alex. p. 133), and Assemannus (Bibliot. Orient, torn. i. p. 424, torn. ii. pp. 62-69, 
324-332, 414, torn. iii. pp. 385-388). He seems to be unknown to the Greeks. The 
Jacobites themselves had rather deduce their name and pedigree from St. James 
the apostle. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 163 

heads in the caverns of hermits, or the tents of the Saracens, 
still asserted, as they now assert, their indefeasible right to 
the title, the rank, and the prerogatives of patriarch of Anti- 
och : under the milder yoke of the infidels, they reside about a 
league from Merdin, in the pleasant monastery of Zapharan, 
which they have embellished with cells, aqueducts, and 
plantations. The secondary, though honorable, place is 
filled by the maphrian, who, in his station at Mosul itself, 
defies the Nestorian catholic with whom he contests the 
primacy of the East. Under the patriarch and the maph- 
rian, one hundred and fifty archbishops and bishops have 
been counted in the different ages of the Jacobite church; 
but the order of the hierarchy is relaxed or dissolved, and 
the greater part of their dioceses is confined to the neigh- 
borhood of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The cities of 
Aleppo and Amida, which are often visited by the patri- 
arch, contain some wealthy merchants and industrious me- 
chanics, but the multitude derive their scanty sustenance 
from their daily labor : and poverty, as well as superstition, 
may impose their excessive fasts : five annual lents, during 
which both the clergy and laity abstain not only from flesh 
or eggs, but even from the taste of wine, of oil, and of fish. 
Their present numbers are esteemed from fifty to fourscore 
thousand souls, the remnant of a populous church, which 
has gradually decreased under the oppression of twelve 
centuries. Yet in that long period, some strangers of merit 
have been converted to the Monophysite faith, and a Jew 
was the father of Abulpharagius, 130 primate of the East, so 
truly eminent both in his life and death. In his life, he was 
an elegant writer of the Syriac and Arabic tongues, a poet, 
physician, and historian, a subtile philosopher, and a moder- 
ate divine. In his death, his funeral was attended by his 
rival the Nestorian patriarch, with a train of Greeks and 
Armenians, who forgot their disputes, and mingled their 
tears over the grave of an enemy. The sect which was 
honored by the virtues of Abulpharagius appears, however, 
to sink below the level of their Nestorian brethren. The 
superstition of the Jacobites is more abject, their fasts more 
rigid, 131 their intestine divisions are more numerous, and 

130 The account of his person and writings is perhaps the most curious article 
in the Bibliotheca of Assemannus (torn. ii. pp. 214-3121, under the name of Gre- 
gorins Bar-Hebrce'&s), La Croze (Christianisme d'Ethiopie, pp. 53-G3) ridicules 
the prejudice of the Spaniards against the Jewish blood which secretly defiles 
their church and state. 

131 This excessive abstinence is censured by La Croze (p. 352), and even by the 
Syrian Assemannus (torn. i. p. 226, torn. ii. pp, 304, 305). 



164 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

their doctors (as far as I can measure the degrees of nonsense) 
are more remote from the precincts of reason. Something 
may possibly be allowed for the rigor of the Moiiophysite 
theology ; much more for the superior influence of the mon- 
astic order. In Syria, in Egypt, in ^Ethiopia, the Jacobite 
monks have ever been distinguished by the austerity of their 
penance and the absurdity of their legends. Alive or dead, 
they are worshipped as the favorites of the Deity ; the 
crosier of bishop and patriarch is reserved for their vener- 
able hands; and they assume the government of men, while 
they are yet reeking with the habits and prejudices of the 
cloister. 132 

III. In the style of the Oriental Christians, theMonothe- 
lites of every age are described under the appellation of 
Maronites, 1 ™ a name which has been insensibly transferred 
from a hermit to a monastery, from a monastery to a nation. 
Maron, a saint or savage of the fifth century, displayed his 
religious madness in Syria; the rival cities of Apamea and 
Emesa disputed his relics, a stately church was erected on 
his tomb, and six hundred of his disciples united their soli- 
tary cells on the banks of the Orontes. In the controversies 
of the incarnation, they nicely threaded the orthodox line 
between the sects of Nestorius and Eutyches ; but the un- 
fortunate question of one will or operation in the two 
natures of Christ, was generated by their curious leisure. 
Their proselyte, the emperor Heraclius, was rejected as a 
Maronite from the walls of Emesa ; he found a refuge in 
the monastery of his brethren ; and their theological lessons 
were repaid with the gift of a spacious and wealthy domain. 
The name and doctrine of this venerable school were propa- 
gated among the Greeks and Syrians, and their zeal is 
expressed by Macarius, patriarch of Antioch, who declared 
before the synod of Constantinople, that sooner than sub- 
scribe the two wills of Christ, he would submit to be hewn 
piecemeal and cast into the sea. 134 A similar or a less cruel 
mode of persecution soon converted the unresisting subjects 

13 2 The state of the Monophysites is excellently illustrated in a. dissertation, 
at the beginning of the iid volume of Assemannus, which contains 142 pages. 
The Syriac Chronicle of Gregory Bar Hebrjeus, or Abulpharagius (Bibliot. Ori« 
ent. torn. ii. pp. 321-463), pursues the double 6eries of the Nestorian Catholics and 
the Maphrians of the Jacobites. 

133 The synonymous use of the two words may be proved from Eutvchius 
(Annal. torn. ii. pp. 191,207, 332), and many similar passages which may be found 
in the methodical table of Pocock. He was not actuated by any prejudice against 
the Maronites of the xth century ; and we may believe a Melchlte, whose testi- 
mony is confirmed bv the Jacobites and Latins, 

' 3 * Concil. torn. vii. p. 780. The Monothelite cause was supported with firm- 
pess and subtilty by Constantlne, a Syrian priest of Apamea (p, 1040, &c). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 165 

of the plain, while the glorious title of Mardaites,™ or 
rebels, was bravely maintained by the hardy natives of 
Mount Libanus. John Maron, one of the most learned and 
popular of the monks, assumed the character of patriarch 
of Antioch ; his nephew, Abraham, at the head of the Mar- 
onites, defended their civil and religious freedom against 
the tyrants of -the East. The son of the orthodox Con- 
stantine pursued with pious hatred a people of soldiers, who 
might have stood the bulwark of his empire against the 
common foes of Christ and of Rome. An army of Greeks 
invaded Syria ; the monastery of St. Maron was destroyed 
with lire ; the bravest chieftains were betrayed and mur- 
dered, and twelve thousand of their followers were trans- 
planted to the distant frontiers of Armenia and Thrace. 
Yet the humble nation of the Maronites has survived the 
empire of Constantinople, and they still enjoy, under their 
Turkish masters, a free religion and a mitigated servitude. 
Their domestic governors are chosen among the ancient 
nobility : the patriarch, in his monastery of Canobin, still 
fancies himself on the throne of Antioch ; nine bishops com- 
pose his synod, and one hundred and fifty priests, who retain 
the liberty of marriage, are intrusted with the care of one 
hundred thousand souls. Their country extends from the 
ridge of Mount Libanus to the shores of Tripoli; and the 
gradual descent affords, in a narrow space, each variety of 
soil and climate, from the Holy Cedars, erect under the 
weight of snow, 136 to the vine, the mulberry, and the olive- 
trees of the fruitful valley. In the twelfth century, the 
Maronites, abjuring the Monothelite error, were reconciled 

13 5 Theophanes (Chron. p. 295, 296, 300, 302, 306) and Cedrenus (pp. 437, 440) re- 
late the exploits of the Mardaites : the name (Mard, in Syriac, rebel far it) is 
explained by La Roque (Voyage de la Syrie, torn. ii. p. 53) ; the dates are fixed by 
Pagi (A. I). 676, No. 4-14, A. 1>. 685, No. 3, 4) ; and even the obscure story of the 
patriarch John Maron (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, torn. i. pp. 496-520) illustrates 
from the year 686 to 707, the troubles of Mount Libanus.* 

1;0 In the last century twenty large cedars still remained (Voyage de la Roque, 
torn. i. pp. 68-76); at present they are reduced to four or five (Volney, torn. i. p. 
264). t These trees, so famous in Scripture, were guarded by excommunication ; 
the wood was sparingly borrowed for small crosses, &c. ; an annual mass was 
chanted under their shade ; and they were endowed by the Syrians with a sensi- 
tive power of erecting their branches to repel the snow, to which Mount Libanus 
is less faithful than it is painted by Tacitus : inter ardores opacum fidumque 
nivibus— a daring metaphor (Hist. v. 6). 



* Compare on the Mardaites Anquetil du Perron, in the fiftieth volume of the 
Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscriptions ; and Schlosser, Bildersfurmenden Kaiser, p. 
100.— M. 

t Of the oldest and best looking trees, I counted eleven or twelve ; twenty- 
five very large ones ; about fifty of middling size ; and more than three hundred 
smaller and young ones. Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, 2, 10. — M. 



166 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

to the Latin churches of Antioch and Rome, 137 and the same 
alliance has been frequently renewed by the ambition of the 
popes and the distress of the Syrians. But it may reasona- 
bly be questioned, whether their union has ever been perfect 
or sincere ; and the learned Maronites of the college of 
Rome have vainly labored to absolve their ancestors from 
the guilt of heresy and schism. 138 

IV. Since the age of Constantine, the Armenians 139 had 
signalized their attachment to the religion and empire of the 
Christians.* The disorders of their country, and their 
ignorance of the Greek tongue, prevented their clergy from 
assisting at the synod of Chalcedon, and they floated eighty- 
four years 140 in a state of indifference or suspense, till their 
vacant faith was finally occupied by the missionaries of 
Julian of Halicarnassus, 141 who, in Egypt, their common 
exile, had been vanquished by the arguments or the influ- 
ence of his rival Severus, the Monophysite patriarch of 
Antioch. The Armenians alone are the pure disciples of 
Eutyches, an unfortunate parent, who has been renounced 
by the greater part of his spiritual progeny. They alone 
persevere in the opinion, that the manhood of Christ was 
created, or existed without creation, of a divine and incor- 
ruptible substance. Their adversaries reproach them with 
the adoration of a phantom ; and they retort the accusa- 
tion, by deriding or execrating the blasphemy of the Jaco- 

137 The evidence of William of Tyre (Hist, in Gestis Dei per Francos, 1. xxii. 
c. 8, p. 1022) is copied or confirmed by Jacques de Vitra (Hist. Hierosolym 1. ii. 
c. 77, pp. 1093, 1094). But this unnatural league expired with the power of the 
Franks ; and Abulpharagius (who died in 1286) considers the Maronites as a sect 
of Monothelites (Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. p. 292). 

V3i I find a description and history of the Maronites in the Voyage de la Syrie 
et du Mont Liban par la Roque (2 vols, in 12mo., Amsterdam, 1723 ; particularly 
torn. i. pp. 42-47, pp. 174-184, torn. ii. pp. 10-120). In the a'hcient part, he cop'es 
the prejudices of Nairon and the other Maronites of Rome, which Assemannus is 
afraid to renounce and ashamed to support. Jablouski (Institnt. Hist Christ, 
torn. iii. p. 1S6), Niebuhr (Voyage de l'Arabie, &c, torn. ii. pp. 346, 370-381}, and, 
above all, the judicious Volney (Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, torn. ii. pp. 8-31, 
Paris, 1787), may be consulted. 

lw The religion of the Armenians is briefly described by La Croze (Hist, du 
Christ, de l'Ethiopie et de l'Armenie, pp. 269-402). He refers to the great Arme- 
nian History of Galanus (3 vols, in fol. Rome, 1650-1661). and commends the state 
of Armenia in the iiid volume of the Nouveaux Memoires des Missions du Le- 
vant. The work of a Jesuit must have sterling merit when it is praised by La 
Croze. 

140 The schism of the Armenians is placed 84 years after the council of Chal- 
cedon (Pagi, Critica, ad A.D. 535). It was consummated at the end of seventeen 
years ; and it is from the year of Christ 552 that we date the sera of the Arme- 
nians (L'Art de verifier les Dates, p. xxxv). 

' il The sentiments and success of Julian of Halie&rnassns may be seen in Lib- 
eratus (Brev. c. 19), Renaudot (Hist. Patriarch. Alex. pp. 132, 303), and Asseman* 
nus (Bibliot. Orient, torn. ii. Dissertat. de Monophysitis, 1. vii. p. 286). 



* See vol. ii. ch. xx. p. 179.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 167 

bites, who *mpute to the Godhead the vile infirmities of the 
flesh, even the natural effects of nutrition and digestion. 
The religion of Armenia could not derive much glory from 
the learning or the power of its inhabitants. The royalty 
expired with the origin of their schism ; and their Christian 
kings, who arose and fell in the thirteenth century on the 
confines of Cilicia, were the clients of the Latins and the 
vassals of the Turkish sultan of Iconium. The helpless 
nation has seldom been permitted to enjoy the tranquillity of 
servitude. From the earliest period to the present hour, 
Armenia has been the theatre of perpetual war : the lands 
between Tauris and Erivan were dispeopled by the cruel 
policy of the Sophis; and myriads of Christian families 
were transplanted, to perish or to propagate on the distant 
provinces of Persia. Under the rod of oppression, the zeal 
of the Armenians is fervent and intrepid ; they have often 
preferred the crown of martyrdom to the white turban of 
Mahomet ; they devoutly hate the error and idolatry of 
the Greeks; and their transient union with the Latins is not 
less devoid of truth, than the thousand bishops, whom the 
patriarch offered at the feet of the Roman pontiff. 14 ' 2 The 
catholic, or patriarch, of the Armenians resides in the monas- 
tery of Ekmiasin, three leagues from Erivan. Forty-seven 
archbishops, each of whom may claim the obedience of four 
or five suffragans, are consecrated by his hand ; but the far 
greater part are only titular prelates, who dignify with their 
presence and service the simplicity of his court. As soon 
as they have performed the liturgy, they cultivate the gar- 
den ; and our bishops will hear with surprise, that the 
austerity of their life increases in just proportion to the ele- 
vation of their rank. In the fourscore thousand towns or 
villages of his spiritual empire, the patriarch receives a 
small and voluntary tax from each person above the age of 
fifteen ; but the annual amount of six hundred thousand 
crowns is insufficient to supply the incessant demands of 
charity and tribute. Since the beginning of the last cen- 
tury, the Armenians have obtained a large and lucrative 
share of the commerce of the East : in their return from 
Europe, the caravan usually halts in the neighborhood of 
Erivan, the altars are enriched with the fruits of their 

142 See a remarkable fact of the xiith century in the History of Nicetas Chon- 
iates (p. 258). Yet three hundred years before, Photius (Epistol. ii. p. 49, edit. 
Montacut.) had gloried in the conversion of the Armenians — AaTpeuet ori^cptv 
bp9o8o£<o$. 



168 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

patient industry ; and the faith of Eutyches is preached in 
their recent congregations of Barbary and Poland. 143 

V. In the rest of the Roman empire, the despotism of 
the prince might eradicate or silence the sectaries of an 
obnoxious creed. But the stubborn temper of the Egyptians 
maintained their opposition to the synod of Chalcedon, and 
the policy of Justinian condescended to expect and to seize 
the opportunity of discord. The Monophysite church of 
Alexandria 144 was torn by the disputes of the comiptibles 
and incorruptibles, and on the death of the patriarch, the 
two factions upheld their respective candidates. 145 Gaian 
was the disciple of Julian, Theodosius had been the pupil of 
Severus ■ the claims of the former were supported by the 
consent of the monks and senators, the city and the pro- 
vince; the latter depended on the priority of his ordination, 
the favor of the empress Theodora, and the arms of the 
eunuch Narses, which might have been used in more honor- 
able warfare. The exile of the popular candidate to Car- 
thage and Sardinia inflamed the ferment of Alexandria ; and 
after a schism of one hundred and seventy years, the Gaian- 
ites still revered the memory and doctrine of their founder. 
The strength of numbers and of discipline was tried m a 
desperate and bloody conflict ; the streets were filled with 
the dead bodies of citizens and soldiers ; the pious women, 
ascending the roofs of their houses, showered down every 
sharp or ponderous utensil on the heads of the enemy ; and 
the final victory of N arses was owing to the flames, with 
which he wasted the third capital of the Roman world. But 
the lieutenant of Justinian had not conquered in the cause 
of a heretic ; Theodosius himself was speedily, though 
gently, removed ; and Paul of Tanis, an orthodox monk, 
was raised to the throne of Athanasius. The powers of 
government were strained in his support ; he might appoint 
or displace the dukes and tribunes of Egypt; the allowance 
of bread, which Diocletian had granted, was suppressed, the 
churches were shut, and a nation of schismatics was deprived 

143 The travelling Armenians are in the way of every traveller, and their 
mother church is on the high road between Constantinople and Ispahan ; for their 
present state, see Fabricius (Lux Evangelii, &c, c. xxxviii. pp. 40-51), OleariuB 
(1. iv. c. 40), Chardin (vol. ii. p. 2.'S2), Tournefort (lettre xx.), and, above all, Tav- 
ernier (torn. i. pp. 28-37, 510-518). that rambling jeweller, who had read nothing, 
but had seen so much and so well. 

144 The history of the Alexandrian patriarchs, from Dioscorus to Benjamin, is 
taken from Kenaudot (pp. 114-164), and the second tome of the Annals of Euty- 
chius. 

145 Liberat. Brev. c. 20, 23. Victor. Chron. pp. 329, 330. Procop. Anecdot. o. 
26, 27. 



OY THE ROMAN EMPIKE. 169 

at once of their spiritual and carnal food. In his turn, 
the tyrant was excommunicated by the zeal and revenge of 
the people: and none except his servile Melchites would 
salute him as a man, a Christian, or a bishop. Yet such is 
the blindness of ambition, that, when Paul was expelled on 
a charge of murder, he solicited, with a bribe of seven hun- 
dred pounds of gold, his restoration to the same station of 
hatred and ignominy. His successor Apollinaris entered 
the hostile city in military array, alike qualified for prayer 
or for battle. His troops, under arms, were distributed 
through the streets ; the gates of the cathedral were guard- 
ed, and a chosen band was stationed in the choir, to defend 
the person of the chief. He stood erect on his throne, and, 
throwing aside the upper garment of a warrior, suddenly 
appeared before the eyes of the multitude in the robes of 
patriarch of Alexandria. Astonishment held them mute ; 
but no sooner had Apollinaris begun to read the tome of St. 
Leo, than a volley of curses, and invectives, and stones, 
assaulted the odious minister of the emperor and the synod. 
A charge was instantly sounded by the successor of the 
Apostles ; the soldiers waded to their knees in blood, and 
two hundred thousand Christians are said to have fallen by 
the sword ; an incredible account, even if it be extended 
from the slaughter of a day to the eighteen years of the 
reign of Apollinaris. Two succeeding patriarchs, Eulo- 
gius 146 and John, 147 labored in the conversion of heretics, 
with arms and arguments more worthy of their evangelical 
profession. The theological knowledge of Eulogius was 
displayed in many a volume, which magnified the errors of 
Eutyches and Severus, and attempted to reconcile the 
ambiguous language of St. Cyril with the orthodox creed of 
Pope Leo and the fathers of Chalcedon. The bounteous 
alms of John the Eleemosynary were dictated by superstition, 
or benevolence, or policy. Seven thousand five hundred 
poor were maintained at his expense ; on his accession he 
found eight thousand pounds of gold in the treasury of the 

14C Eulogius, who had been a monk of Antioch, was more conspicuous for sub- 
tilty than eloquence. He proves that the enemies of the faith, the Gaianites 
and Theodosians, ought not to be reconciled ; that the same proposition may be 
orthodox in the mouth of St. Cyril, heretical in that of Severus ; that the oppo- 
site assertions of St. Leo are equally true, &c. His writings are no longer extant 
except in the Extracts of Photius, who had perused them with care and satisfac- 
tion cod. ccviii ccxxv. ccxxvi. ccxxvii. ccxxx. cclxxx. 

147 See the Life of John the eleemosynary by his contemporary Leontius. 
bishopof Neapolis in Cyprus, whose Greek text, either lost or hidden, is reflected 
in the Latin version of Baronius (A. D. 610, No. 9, A.D. 620, No. 8). Pagi (Crit- 
ical, torn. ii. p. 76o) and Fabricius (1. v. c. 11, torn. vii. p. 454) have made some crit- 
ical observations. 



170 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

church; he collected ten thousand from the liberality of the 
faithful ; yet the primate could boast in his testament, that 
he left behind him no more than the third part of the 
smallest of the silver coins The churches ot Alexandria 
were delivered to the Catholics, the religion of the Mono- 
physites was proscribed in Egypt, and a law was revived 
which excluded the natives from the honors and emoluments 
of the state. 

A more important conquest still remained, of the patri- 
arch, the oracle and leader of the Egyptian church. Theo- 
dosius had resisted the threats and promises of Justinian 
with the spirit of an apostle or an enthusiast. " Such," re- 
plied the patriarch, " were the offers of the tempter when 
he showed the kingdoms of the earth. But my soul is far 
dearer to me than life or dominion. The churches are in 
the hands of a prince who can kill the body; but my con- 
science is my own ; and in exile, poverty, or chains, I will 
steadfastly adhere to the faith of my holy predecessors, 
Athanasius, Cyril, and Dioscorus. Anathema to the tome 
of Leo and the synod of Chalcedon ! Anathema to all who 
embrace their creed ! Anathema to them now and forever- 
more ! Naked came I out of my mother's womb, naked 
shall I descend into the grave. Let those who love God 
follow me and seek their salvation." After comforting his 
brethren, he embarked for Constantinople, and sustained, in 
six successive interviews, the almost irresistible weight of 
the royal presence. His opinions were favorably entertained 
in the palace and the city; the influence of Theodora 
assured him a safe conduct and honorable dismission ; and 
he ended his days, though not on the throne, yet in the 
bosom, of his native country. On the news of his death, 
Apollinaris indecently feasted the nobles and the clergy ; 
but his joy was checked by the intelligence of a, new elec- 
tion ; and while he enjoyed the wealth of Alexandria, his 
rivals reigned in the monasteries of Thebais, and were main- 
tained by the voluntary oblations of the people. A perpet- 
ual succession of patriarchs arose from the ashes of Theodo- 
sius ; and the Monophysite churches of Syria and Egypt 
were united by the name of Jacobites and the communion 
of the faith. But the same faith, which has been confined 
to a narrow sect of the Syrians, was diffused over the mass 
of the Egyptian or Coptic nation ; who, almost unanimously, 
rejected the decrees of the synod of Chalcedon. A thousand 
years were now elapsed since Egypt had ceased to be a 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 171 

kingdom, since the conquerors of Asia and Europe had 
trampled on the ready necks of a people, whose ancient wis- 
dom and power ascend beyond the records of history. The 
conflict of zeal and persecution rekindled some sparks of 
their national spirit. They abjured, with a foreign heresy, 
the manners and language of the Greeks : every Melchite, 
in their eyes, was a stranger, every Jacobite a citizen ; the 
alliance of marriage, the offices of humanity,were condemned 
as a deadly sin ; the natives renounced all allegiance to 
the emperor ; and his orders, at a distance from Alexandria, 
were obeyed only under the pressure of military force A 
generous effort might have redeemed the religion and liberty 
of Egypt, and her six hundred monasteries might have 
poured forth their myriads of holy warriors, for whom death 
should have no terrors, since life had no comfort or delight. 
But experience has proved the distinction of active and pas- 
sive courage ; the fanatic who endures without a groan the 
torture of the rack or the state, would tremble and fly before 
the face of an armed enemy. The pusillanimous temper of 
the Egyptians could only hope for a change of masters ; the 
arms of Chosroes depopulated the land, yet under his reii>;n 
the Jacobites enjoyed a short and precarious respite. The 
victory of Heraclius renewed and aggravated the persecu- 
tion, and the patriarch again escaped from Alexandria to the 
desert. In his flight, Benjamin was encouraged by a voice, 
which bade him expect, at the end of ten years, the aid of a 
foreign nation, marked, like the Egyptians themselves, with 
the ancient rite of circumcision. The character of these 
deliverers, and the nature of the deliverance, will be here- 
after explained ; and I shall step over the interval of eleven 
centuries to observe the present misery of the Jacobites of 
Egypt. The populous city of Cairo affords a residence, or 
rather a shelter, for their indigent patriarch, and a rem- 
nant of ten bishops; forty monasteries have survived the 
inroads of the Arabs ; and the progress of servitude and 
apostasy has reduced the Coptic nation to the despicable 
number of twenty-five or thirty thousand families ; 148 a race 
of illiterate beggars, whose only consolation is derived from 



143 This number is taken from the curious Recherohes sur les Egyptiens et les 
Chinois (torn. ii-. pp. l!>2, 193), and appears more probable than the 600. 000 ancient, 
or 15,000 modern, Cools of Gemelli Carreri. Cyril Lucar, the Protestant patri- 
arch of Constantinople, laments that those heretics were ten times more numer- 
ous than his orthodox (4 reeks, ingeniously applying the noWai kcv beKddes Sevoia-ro 
o'voxooto of Homer (Iliad ii. 128), the most perfect expression of contempt (Fab- 
ric. Lux Evangelii 740). 



172 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the superior wretchedness of the Greek patriarch and his 
diminutive congregation. 149 

VI. The Coptic patriarch, a rebel to the Caesars, or a 
slave to the khalifs, still gloried in the filial obedience of the 
kings of Nubia and ^Ethiopia. He repaid their homage by 
magnifying their greatness ; and it was boldly asserted that 
they could bring into the field a hundred thousand horse, 
with an equal number of camels ; 150 that their hand could 
pour out or restrain the waters of the Nile ; 151 and the 
peace and plenty of Egypt was obtained, even in this world, 
by the intercession of the patriarch. In exile at Constan- 
tinople, Theodosius recommended to his patroness the con- 
version of the black nations of Nubia, from the tropic of 
Cancer to the confines of Abyssinia. 152 Her design was 
suspected and emulated by the more orthodox emperor. 
The rival missionaries, a Melchite and a Jacobite, embarked 
at the same time ; but the empress, from a motive of love 
or fear, was more effectually obeyed ; and the Catholic 
priest was detained by the president of Thebais, while the 
king of Nubia and his court were hastily baptized in the 
faith of Dioscorus. The tardy envoy oi Justinian was re- 
ceived and dismissed with honor ; but when he accused the 
heresy and treason of the Egyptians, the negro convert was 
instructed to reply that he would never abandon his breth- 
ren, the true believers, to the persecuting ministers of the 
synod of Chalcedon. 153 During several ages, the bishops of 
Nubia were named and consecrated by the Jacobite patri- 

149 The history of the Copts, their religion, manners, &c, may be found in the 
Abbe Renaudot's motley work, neither a translation nor an original ; the Chron- 
icon Orientale of Peter, a Jacobite, in the two versions of Abraham Ecchellen- 
sis, Paris, 1651, and John Simon Asseman, Venet. 17159. These annals descend 
no lower than the xiiith century. The more recent accounts must be searched 
for in the travellers into Egypt and the Nouveaux Memoires des Missions du 
Levant, in the last century, Joseph Abudacnus, a native of Cairo, published at 
Oxford, in thirty pages, a slight Historia Jacobitarum, 147, post p. 150. 

>«> About the year 737. See Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex. pp. 221, 222. 
Elmacin, Hist. Saracen, p. 99. 

u ' 1 Ludolph. Hist. ^Ethiopic. et Comment. 1. i. c. 8. Renaudot, Hist. Patri- 
arch. Alex. p. 480, &c. This opinion, introduced into Egypt and Europe by the 
artifice of the Copts, the pride of the Abyssinians, the fear and ignorance of the 
Turks and Arabs, has not even the semblance of truth. The rains of iEthiopia 
do not, in the increase of the Nile, consult the will of the monarch. If the river 
approaches at Napata within three days' journey of the Red Sea (see D'Anville's 
Maps), a canal that should divert its course would demand, and most probably 
surpass, the power of the Caesars. 

'- 2 The Abyssinians, who still preserve the features and olive complexion of 
the Arabs, afford a proof that two thousand years are not sufficient to change the 
color of the human race. The Nubians, an African race, are pure negroes, as 
black aa those of Senegal or Congo, with fiat noses, thick lips, and woolly hair 
(Buffon, Hist. Nature lie, torn. v. pp. 117, 143. 144, 166, 219, edit, in 12mo., Paris, 
1769). The ancients beheld, without much attention, the extraordinary phenom- 
enon which has exercised the philosophers and theologians of modern times. 

loa Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, torn. i. p. 329. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 173 

arch of Alexandria : as late as the twelfth century, Chris- 
tianity prevailed ; and some rites, some ruins, are still 
visible in the savage towns of Sennaar and Dongola. 154 
But the Nubians at length executed their threats of return- 
ing to the Worship of idols ; the climate required the indul- 
gence of polygamy, and they have finally preferred the tri- 
umph of the Koran to the abasement of the Cross. A 
metaphysical religion may appear too refined for the capa- 
city of the negro race : yet a black or a parrot might be 
taught to repeat the words of the Chalcedonian or Mono- 
physite creed. 

Christianity was more deeply rooted in the Abyssinian 
empire ; and, although the correspondence has been some- 
times interrupted above seventy or a hundred years, the 
mother-church of Alexandria retains her colony in a state 
of perpetual pupilage. Seven bishops once composed the 
./Ethiopia- synod : had their number amounted to ten, they 
might have elected an independent primate ; and one of 
their kings -was ambitious of promoting his brother to the 
ecclesiastical throne. But the event was foreseen, the in- 
crease was denied - , the episcopal office has been gradually 
confined to the abuna, 15& the head and author of the Abys- 
sinian priesthood , the patriarch supplies each vacancy with 
an Egyptian monk ; and the character of a stranger appears 
more venerable in the eyes of the people, less dangerous in 
those of the monarch. In the sixth century, when the 
schism of Egypt was confirmed, the rival chiefs, with their 
patrons, Justinian and Theodora, strove to outstrip • each 
other in the conquest of a remote and independent province. 
The industry of the empress was again victorious, and the 
pious Theodora has established in that sequestered church 
the faith and discipline of the Jacobites. 156 Encompassed 
on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the ./Ethiopians 

»m The Christianity of the Nubians (A.D. 1153) is attested by the sheriff al 
Edrisi, falsely described under the name of the Nubian geographer (.p. 18), who 
represents them as a nation of Jacobites. The rays of historical light that twin- 
kle |n the history of Renaudot (pp. 178. 220-224, 281-286, 405. 434, 451, 464) are all 
previous to this sera. See the modern state in the Lettres Editiantes (Recueil, 
iv.) and Buschmg (torn, ix. pp. 152-159, par Berenger). 

1M The abuna is improperly dignified by the Latins with the title of patriarch. 
The Abyssinians acknowledge only the four patriarchs, and their chief is no 
more than a metropolitan or national primate (Ludolph. Hist ^thiopic. et Com- 
ment 1. iii. c. 7) The seven bishops of Renaudot (p. 511), who existed A D 1131, 
are unknown to the historian. 

**Ll know not why Assemannus (Bibhot. Orient, torn. ii. p. 384) should call in 
question these probable missions of Theodora into Nubia and /Ethiopia. The 
eliglit notices of Abyssinia till the vear 1500 are supplied by Renaudot (pp. 336- 
341 ? 381, 382, 405, 443, &c, 452, 456, 463, 475. 480, 511. 525, 559-564) from the Coptic 
writers. The mind of Ludolphua was a perfect blank. 



174 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world, by 
whom they were forgotten. They were awakened by the 
Portuguese, who, turning the southern promontory of Africa, 
appeared in India and the Red Sea, as if they had descend- 
ed through the air from a distant planet. In the first mo- 
ments of their interview, the subjects of Rome and Alex- 
andria observed the resemblance, rather than the difference, 
of their faith ; and each nation expected the most important 
benefits from an alliance with their Christian brethren. In 
their lonely situation the ^Ethiopians had almost relapsed 
into the savage life. Their vessels, which had traded to 
Ceylon, scarcely presumed to navigate the rivers of Africa ; 
the ruins of Axume were deserted, the nation was scattered 
in villages, and the emperor, a pompous name, was* content, 
both in peace and war, with the immovable residence of a 
camp. Conscious of their own indigence, the Abyssinians 
had formed the rational project of importing the arts and 
ingenuity of Europe ; 157 and their ambassadors at Rome and 
Lisbon were instructed to solicit a colony of smiths, car- 
penters, tilers, masons, printers, surgeons, and physicians, 
for the use of their country. But the public danger soon 
called for the instant and effectual aid of arms and soldiers, 
to defend an unwarlike people from the Barbarians who 
ravaged the inland country, and the Turks and Arabs who 
advanced from the sea-coast in more formidable array. 
./Ethiopia was saved by four hundred and fifty Portuguese, 
who displayed in the field the native valor of Europeans, 
and the artificial power of the musket and cannon. In a 
moment of terror, the emperor had promised to reconcile 
himself and his subjects to the Catholic faith ; a Latin 
patriarch represented the supremacy of the pope : 158 the 
empire, enlarged in a tenfold proportion, was supposed to 
contain more gold than the mines of America ; and the 
wildest hopes of avarice and zeal were built on the willing 
submission of the Christians of Africa. 

But the vows which pain had extorted were forsworn 
on the return of health. The Abyssinians still adhered with 
unshaken constancy to the Monophysite faith ; their languid 

*" Ludolph. Hist. TEthiop. 1. iv. c. 5. The most necessary arts are now exer- 
cised by the Jews, and the foreign trade is in the hands of the Armenians. What 
Gregory principally admired and envied was the industry of Europe— artes et 
opilicia. 

1,8 John Bermudez, whose relation, printed at Lisbon, 1569, was translated 
into English by Purchas (Pilgrims, 1. vii. c. 7, p. 1119, &c), and from thence into 
French by La Croze (Christiani.sme d'Ethiopie, pp. 92-265). The piece is curious ; 
bat the author may be suspected of deceiving Abyssinia, Rome, and Portugal. 
His title to the rank of patriarch is dark and doubtful (Ludolph. Comment. No. 
101, p. 473). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 175 

belief was inflamed by the exercise of dispute ; they branded 
the Latins with the names of Arians and Nestorians, and 
imputed the adoration of four gods to those who separated 
the two natures of Christ. Fremona, a place of worship, or 
rather of exile, was assigned to the Jesuit missionaries. Their 
skill in the liberal and mechanic arts, their theological learn- 
ing, and the decency of their manners, inspired a barren 
esteem ; but they were not endowed with the gift of mira- 
cles, 159 and they vainly solicited a reenforcement of Euro- 
pean troops. The patience and dexterity of forty years 
at length obtained a more favorable audience, and two 
emperors of Abyssinia were persuaded that Rome could 
insure the temporal and everlasting happiness of her votaries. 
The first of these royal converts lost his crown and his life; 
and the rebel army was sanctified by the abuna, who hurled 
an anathema at the apostate, and absolved his subjects from 
their oath of fidelity. The fate of Zadenghel was revenged 
by the courage and fortune of Susneus, who ascended the 
throne under the name of Segued, and more vigorously pros- 
ecuted the pious enterprise of his kinsman. After the 
amusement of some unequal combats between the Jesuits 
and his illiterate priests, the emperor declared himself a 
proselyte to the synod of Chalcedon, presuming that his 
clergy and people would embrace without delay the religion 
of their prince. The liberty of choice was succeeded by a 
law, which imposed, under pain of death, the belief of the 
two natures of Christ; the Abyssinians were enjoined to 
work and to play on the Sabbath ; and Segued, in the face 
of Europe and Africa, renounced his connection with the 
Alexandrian church. A Jesuit, Alphonso Mendez, the 
Catholic patriarch of ^Ethiopia, accepted, in the name of 
Urban VIII., the homage and abjuration of his penitent. 
" I confess," said the emperor on his knees, " I confess 
that the pope is the vicar of Christ, the successor 
of St. Peter, and the sovereign of the world. To him 
I swear true obedience, and at his feet I offer my person, 
son and kingdom. A similar oath was repeated by his son, 
his brother, the clergy, the nobles, and even the ladies of 
the court: the Latin patriarch was invested with honors 
and wealth ; and his missionaries erected their churches or 
citadels in the most convenient stations of the empire. The 
Jesuits themselves deplore the fatal indiscretion of their 

159 Religio Romana .... nee precibus patrum nee miraculis ab ipsis editis 
pulfiilciebaour, is the uncontradicted assurance of the devout emperor Susneus 
to his patriarch Mendez (Ludolph. Comment. No. 126, p. :"29) ; and sucli assur- 
ances should be preciously kept, as an antidote against any marvellous legends. 



176 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

chief, who forgot the mildness of the gospel and the policy 
of his order to introduce with hasty violence the liturgy of 
Rome and the inquisition of Portugal. He condemned the 
ancient practice of circumcision, which health, rather than 
superstition, had first invented in the climate of ^Ethiopia. 10 * 
A new baptism, a new ordination, was inflicted on the 
natives ; and they trembled with horror when the most holy 
of the dead were torn from their graves, when the most 
illustrious of the living were excommunicated bv a foreign 
priest. In the defence of their religion and liberty, the 
Abyssinians rose in arms, with desperate but unsuccessful 
zeal. Five rebellions were extinguished in the blood of the 
insurgents : two abunas were slain in battle, whole legions 
were slaughtered in the field, or suffocated in their caverns ; 
and neither merit, nor rank, nor sex, could save from an 
ignominious death the enemies of Rome. But the victorious 
monarch was finally subdued by the constancy of the nation, 
of his mother, of his son, and of his most faithful friends. 
Segued listened to the voice of pity, of reason, perhaps of 
fear: and his edict of liberty of conscience instantly revealed 
the tyranny and weakness of the Jesuits. On the death 
of his father, Basilides expelled the Latin patriarch, and 
restored to the wishes of the nation the faith and the dis- 
cipline of Egypt. The Monophysite churches resounded 
with a song of triumph, "that the sheep of ^Ethiopia were 
now delivered from the hyaenas of the West ; " and the gates 
of that solitary realm were forever shut against the arts, the 
science, and the fanaticism of Europe. 161 

160 I am aware how tender is the question of circumcision. Yet I will affirm, 
1. That the .^Ethiopians have a physical reason for the circumcision of males, 
and even of females (Kecherches Philosophiques sur les Americains, torn. ii). 
2 That it was practiced in ^Ethiopia long before the introduction of Judaism or 
Christianity (Herodot. 1. ii. c. 104, Marsham, Canon. Chron. pp. 72,73). "In- 
fantes circumcidunt ob consuetudinem, non ob Judaismum," says Gregory the 
Abyssinian priest (apud Fabric. Lux Christiana, p. 720). Yet in the heat of dis- 
pute, the Portuguese were sometimes branded with the name of uncircumcised 
(La Croze, p. 80. Ludolph. Hist, and Comment. 1. iii. c. 1). 

181 The three Protestant historians, Ludolphus (Hist, iEthiopiea, Francofurt. 
1681; Commentarius, 1691; Relatio Nova, &c, 1693, in folio), Geddes (Church 
History of ^Ethiopia, London, 1696, in 8vo.),and La Croze (Hist, du Christianlsme 
d'Ethiopie et d'Armenie, La Haye. 1739, in 12mo.), have drawn their principal 
materials from the Jesuits, especially from the General History of Tellez, pub. 
lished in Portuguese at Coimbra, 1660- We might be surprised at their frank- 
ness ; but their most flagitious vice, the spirit of persecution, was in their eyeg 
the most meritorious virtue. Ludolphus possessed some, though a slight, advan- 
tage from the iEthiopic language, and the personal conversation of Gregory, a 
free-spirited Abyssinian nriest,whom he invited from Pome to the court of Saxe. 
Gotha. See the Theolo^ia ^Ethiopica of Gregory, in Fabric. Lux Evangelii, pp, 
716—734).* 

* The travels of Bruce, illustrated by those of Mr. Salt, and the narrative of 
Nathaniel Pearce, have brought is again acquainted with this remote region. 
Whatever may be their speculative opinions, the barbarous manners of the Ethi- 
opians seem to be gaining more and more the ascendency over the practice of 
Christianity.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 177 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

PLAN OF THE LAST TWO VOLUMES. SUCCESSION AND CHAR- 
ACTERS OF THE GREEK EMPERORS OF CONSTANTINOPLE, 
FROM THE TIME OF HERACLIUS TO THE LATIN CONQUEST. 

I have now deduced from Trajan to Constantine, from 
Constantine to Heraclius, the regular series of the Roman 
emperors ; and faithfully exposed the prosperous and ad- 
verse fortunes of their reigns. Five centuries of the decline 
and fall of the empire have already elapsed ; but a period 
of more than eight hundred years still separates me from the 
term of my labors, the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. 
Should I persevere in the same course, should I observe the 
same measure, a prolix and slender thread would be spun 
through many a volume, nor would the patient reader find 
an adequate reward of instruction or amusement. At every 
step, as we sink deeper in the decline and fall of the Eastern 
empire, the annals of each succeeding reign would impose a 
more ungrateful and melancholy task. These annals must 
continue to repeat a tedious and uniform tale of weakness 
and misery ; the natural connection of causes and events 
would be broken by frequent and hasty transitions, and a 
minute accumulation of circumstances must destroy the light 
and effect of those general pictures which compose the use 
and ornament of a remote history. From the time of Hera- 
clius, the Byzantine theatre is contracted and darkened : the 
line of empire, which had been defined by the laws of Jus- 
tinian and the arms of Belisarius, recedes on all sides from 
our view ; the Roman name, the proper subject of our in- 
quiries, is reduced to a narrow corner of Europe, to the 
lonely suburbs of Constantinople ; and the fate of the Greek 
empire has been compared to that of the Rhine, which loses 
itself in the sands, before its waters can mingle with the 
ocean. The scale of dominion is diminished to our view by 
the distance of time and place ; nor is the loss of external 
splendor compensated by the nobler gifts of virtue and 
genius. In the last moments of her decay, Constantinople 
was doubtless more opulent and populous than Athens at 
Vol. IV.— 12 



178 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

her most flourishing aera. when a scanty sum of six thousand 
talents, or twelve hundred thousand pounds sterling, was 
possessed by twenty-one thousand male citizens of an adult 
age. But each of these citizens was a freeman, who dared 
to assert the liberty of his thoughts, words, and actions, 
whose person and property were guarded by equal law ; and 
who exercised his independent vote in the government of 
the republic. Their numbers seem to be multiplied by the 
strong and various discriminations of character ; under the 
shield of freedom, on the wings of emulation and vanity, 
each Athenian aspired to the level of the national dignity ; 
from this commanding eminence, some chosen spirits soared 
beyond the reach of a vulgar eye ; and the chances of su- 
perior merit in a great and populous kingdom, as they are 
proved by experience, would excuse the computation of 
imaginary millions. The territories of Athens, Sparta, and 
their allies, do not exceed a moderate province of France 
or England ; but after the trophies of Salamis and Platea, 
they expand in our fancy to the gigantic size of Asia, which 
had been trampled under the feet of the victorious Greeks* 
But the subjects of the Byzantine empire, who assume and 
dishonor the names both of Greeks and Romans, present a 
dead uniformity of abject vices, which are neither softened 
by the weakness of humanity, nor animated by the vigor of 
memorable crimes. The freemen of antiquity might repeat 
with generous enthusiasm the sentence of Homer, " that on 
the tirst day of his servitude, the captive is deprived of one- 
halt of his manly virtue." But the poet had only seen the 
effects of civil or domestic slavery, nor could he foretell 
that the second moiety of manhood must be annihilated by 
the spiritual despotism which shackles not only the actions, 
but even the thoughts, of the prostrate votary. By this 
double yoke, the Greeks were oppressed under the succes- 
sors of Heraclius ; the tyrant, a law of eternal justice, was 
degraded by the vices of his subjects ; and on the throne, 
in the camp, in the schools, we search, perhaps with fruit- 
less diligence, the names and characters that may deserve 
to be rescued from oblivion. Nor are the defects of the 
subject compensated by the skill and variety of the painters. 
Of a space of eight hundred years, the four first centuries 
are overspread with a cloud interrupted by some faint and 
broken rays of historic light : in the lives of the emperors, 
from Maurice to Alexius, Basil the Macedonian has alone 
been the theme of a separate work ; and the absence, or loss, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 179 

or imperfection of contemporary evidence, must be poorly 
supplied by the doubtful authority of more recent compilers. 
The four last centuries are exempt from the reproach of 
penury ; and with the Comnenian family, the historic muse 
of Constantinople again revives, but her apparel is gaudy, 
her motions are without elegance or grace. A succession 
of priests, or courtiers, treads in each other's footsteps in 
the same path of servitude and superstition : their views are 
narrow, their judgment is feeble or corrupt : and we close 
the volume of copious barrenness, still ignorant of the causes 
of events, the characters of the actors, and the manners of 
the times which they celebrate or deplore. The observation 
which has been applied to a man, may be extended to a 
whole people, that the energy of the sword is communicated 
to the pen ; and it will be found by exjoerience, that the 
tone of history will rise or fall with the spirit of the age. 

From these considerations, I should have abandoned 
without regret the Greek slaves and their servile historians, 
had I not reflected that the fate of the Byzantine monarchy 
is 'p&6sivtty connected with the most splendid and important 
revolutions which have changed the state of the world. 
The space of the lost provinces was immediately replenished 
with new colonies and rising kingdoms : the active virtues 
of peace and war deserted from the vanquished to the vic- 
torious nations ; and it is in their origin and conquests, in 
their religion and government, that we must explore the 
causes and effects of the decline and fall of the Eastern 
empire. Nor will this scope of narrative, the riches and 
variety of these materials, be incompatible with the unity 
of design and composition. As, in his daily prayers, the 
Mussulman of Fez or Delhi still turns his face towards the 
temple of Mecca, the historian's eye shall be always fixed 
on the city of Constantinople. The excursive line may em- 
brace the wilds of Arabia and Tartary, but the circle will 
be ultimately reduced to the decreasing limit of the Roman 
monarchy. 

On this principle I shall now establish the plan of the 
Inst two volumes of the present work. The first chapter 
will contain, in a regular series, the emperors who reigned 
at Constantinople during a period of six hundred years, from 
the days of Heraclius to the Latin conquest ; .a rapid abstract, 
which may be supported by a general appeal to the order 
and text of the original historians. In this introduction, I 
shall confine myself to the revolutions of the throne, the 



180 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

succession of families, the personal characters of the Greek 
princes, the mode of their life and death, the maxims and 
influence of their domestic government, and the tendency 
of their reign to accelerate or suspend the downfall of the 
Eastern empire. Such a chronological review will serve to 
illustrate the various argument of the subsequent chapters; 
and each circumstance of the eventful story of the Bar- 
barians will adapt itself in a proper place to the Byzantine 
annals. The internal state of the empire, and the dangerous 
heresy of the Paulicians, which shook the East and enlight- 
ened the West, will be the subject of two separate chapters; 
but these inquiries must be postponed till our further prog- 
ress shall have opened the view of the world in the ninth 
and tenth centuries of the Christian sera. After this foun- 
dation of Byzantine history, the following nations will pass 
before our eyes, and each will occupy the space to which it 
may be entitled by greatness or merit, or the degree of con- 
nection with the Roman world and the present age. I. The 
Franks ; a general appellation which includes all the Bar- 
barians of France, Italy, and Germany, who were united 
by the sword and sceptre of Charlemagne. The persecution 
of images and their votaries separated Rome and Italy from 
the Byzantine throne, and prepared the restoration of the 
Roman empire in the West. II. The Arabs or Saracens. 
Three ample chapters will be devoted to this curious and 
interesting object. In the first, after a picture of the coun- 
try and its inhabitants, I shall investigate the character of 
Mahomet ; the character, religion, and success of the prophet. 
In the second, I shall lead the Arabs to the conquest of 
Syria, Egypt, and Africa, the provinces of the Roman em- 
pire ; nor can I check their victorious career till they have 
overthrown the monarchies of Persia and Spain. In the 
third, I shall inquire how Constantinople and Europe were 
saved by the luxury and arts, the division and decay, of the 
empire of the caliphs. A single chapter will include, III. 
The Bulgarians, IV. Hungarians, and, V. Russians, 
who assaulted by sea or by land the provinces and the capi- 
tal ; but the last of these, so important in their present great- 
ness, will excite some curiosity in their origin and infancy. 
VI. The Normans ; or rather the private adventurers of that 
warlike people, who founded a powerful kingdom in Apulia 
and Sicily, shook the throne of Constantinople, displayed the 
trophies of chivalry, and almost realized the wonders of 
romance. VII. The Latins ; the subjects of the pope, the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 181 

nations of the West who enlisted under the banner of the 
cross for the recovery or relief of the holy sepulchre. The 
Greek emperors were terrified and preserved by the myriads 
of pilgrims who marched to Jerusalem with Godfrey of 
Bouillon and the peers of Christendom. The second and 
third crusades trod in the footsteps of the first : Asia and 
Europe were mingled in a sacred war of two hundred years ; 
and the Christian powers were bravely resisted, and finally 
expelled, by Saladin and the Mamelukes of Egypt. In these 
memorables crusades, a fleet and army of French and Vene- 
tians were diverted from Syria to the Thracian Bosphorus : 
they assaulted the capital, they subverted the Greek mon- 
archy : and a dynasty of Latin princes was seated near" 
threescore years on the throne of Constantine. VIII. The 
Greeks themselves, during this period of captivity and 
exile, must be considered as a foreign nation ; the enemies, 
and again the sovereigns of Constantinople. Misfortune 
had rekindled a spark of national virtue ; and the imperial 
series may be continued with some dignity from their res- 
toration to the Turkish conquest. IX. The Moguls and 
Tartars. By the arms of Zingis and his descendants, the 
globe was shaken from China to Poland and Greece: the 
sultans were overthrown : the caliphs fell, and the Caesars 
trembled on their throne. The victories of Timour suspended 
above fifty years the final ruin of the Byzantine empire. X. 
I have already noticed the first appearance of the Turks ; 
and the names of the fathers, of Seljuk and Othman, dis- 
criminate the two successive dynasties of the nation, which 
emerged m the eleventh century from the Scythian wilder- 
ness. The former established a potent and splendid king- 
dom from the banks of the Oxus to Antioch and Nice; 
and the first crusade was provoked by the violation of 
Jerusalem and the danger of Constantinople. From an 
humble origin, the Ottomans arose, the scourge and terror 
of Christendom. Constantinople was besieged and taken 
by Mahomet II., and his triumph annihilates the remnant, 
the image, the title, of the Roman empire in the East. The 
schism of the Greeks will be connected with their last 
calamities, and the restoration of learning in the Western 
world. I shall return from the captivity of the new, to the 
ruins of ancient Rome ; and the venerable name, the inter- 
esting theme, will shed a ray of glory on the conclusion of 
my labors. 



182 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The emperor Heraclius had punished a tyrant and 
ascended his throne ; and the memory of his reign is per- 
petuated by the transient conquest, and irreparable loss, of 
the Eastern provinces. After the death* of Eudocia, his lirst 
wife, he disobeyed the patriarch, and violated the laws, by 
his second marriage with his niece Martina; and the super- 
stition of the Greeks beheld the judgment of Heaven in the 
diseases of the father and the deformity of his offspring. 
But the opinion of an illegitimate birth is sufficient to distract 
the choice, and loosen the obedience, of the people : the 
ambition of Martina was quickened by maternal love, and 
perhaps by the envy of a step-mother ; and the aged husband 
was too feeble to withstand the arts of conjugal allurements. 
Constantine, his eldest son, enjoyed in a mature age the 
title of Augustus; but the weakness of his constitution 
required a colleague and a guardian, and he yielded with 
secret reluctance to the partition of the empire. The senate 
was summoned to the palace to ratify or attest the associa- 
tion of Heracleonas, the son of Martina : the imposition of 
tn*e diadem was consecrated by the prayer and blessing of 
the patriarch ; the senators and patricians adored the 
majesty of the great emperor and the partners of his reign ; 
and as soon as the doors were thrown open, they were hailed 
by the tumultuary but important voice of the soldiers. 
After an interval of five months, the pompous ceremonies 
which formed the essence of the Byzantine state were 
celebrated in the cathedral and the hippodrome : the concord 
of the royal brothers was affectedly displayed by the younger 
leaning on the arm of the elder; and the name of Martina 
was mingled m the reluctant or venal acclamations of the 
people. Heraclius survived this association about two 
years : his last testimony declared his two sons the equal 
heirs of the Eastern empire, and commanded them to honor 
his widow Martina as their mother and their sovereign. 

When Martina first appeared on the throne with the 
name and attributes of royalty, she was checked by a firm, 
though respectful, opposition ; and the dying embers of 
freedom were kindled by the breath of superstitious prejudice. 
" We reverence," exclaimed the voice of a citizen, " we 
reverence the mother of our princes ; but to those princes 
alone our obedience is due ; and Constantine, the elder 
emperor, is of an age to sustain, in his own hands, the weight 
of the sceptre. Your sex is excluded by nature from the 
toils of government. How could you combat, how could 



OF THE SOMAN EMPIRE. 183 

you answer, the Barbarians, who, with hostile or friendly 
intentions, may approach the royal city ? May Heaven 
avert from the Roman republic this national disgrace, which 
would provoke the patience of the slaves of Persia! " Martina 
descended from the throne with indignation, and sought a 
refuge in the female apartment of the palace. The reign of 
Constantino the Third lasted only one hundred and three 
days : he expired in the thirtieth year of his age, and, 
although his life had been a long malady, a belief was en- 
tertained that poison had been the means, and his cruel 
step-mother the author of his untimely fate. Martina reaped 
indeed the harvest of his death, and assumed the government 
in the name of the surviving emperor; but the incestuous 
widow of Heraclius was universally abhorred ; the jealousy 
of the people was awakened, and the two orphans whom 
Constantine had left became the objects of the public care. 
It was in vain that the son of Martina, who was no more 
than fifteen years of age, was taught to declare himself the 
guardian of his nephews, one of whom he had presented at 
the baptismal font : it was in vain that he swore on the 
wood of the true cross, to defend them against all their 
enemies. On his death-bed, the late emperor had despatched 
a trusty servant to arm the troops and provinces of the East 
in the defence of his helpless children : the eloquence and 
liberality of Valentin had been successful, and from his 
camp of Chalcedon, he boldly (demanded the punishment of 
the assassins, and the restoration of the lawful heir. The 
license of the soldiers, who devoured the grapes and drank 
the wine of their Asiatic vineyards, provoked the citizens 
of Constantinople against the domestic authors of their 
calamities, and the dome of St. Sophia reechoed, not with 
prayers and hymns, but with the clamors and imprecations 
of an enraged multitude. At their imperious command, 
Heracleonas appeared in the pulpit with the eldest of the 
royal orphans ; Constans alone was saluted as emperor of 
the Romans, and a crown of gold which had been taken 
from the tomb of Heraclius, was placed on his head, with 
the solemn benediction of the patriarch. But in the tumult 
of joy and indignation, the church was pillaged, the sanctuary 
was polluted by a promiscuous crowd of Jews and Bar- 
barians ; and the Monothelite Pyrrhus, a creature of the 
empress, after dropping a protestation on the altar, escaped 
by a prudent flight from the zeal of the Catholics. A more 
serious and bloody task was reserved for the senate, who 



184 THE DECLINE AND FALL. 

derived a temporary strength from the consent of the soldiers 
and people. The spirit of Roman freedom revived the 
ancient and awful examples of the judgment of tyrants, and 
the Imperial culprits were deposed and condemned as the 
authors of the death of Constantine. But the severity of 
the conscript fathers was stained by the indiscriminate 
punishment of the innocent and the guilty : Martina and 
Heracleonas were sentenced to the amputation, the former 
of her tongue, the latter of his nose ; and after this cruel 
execution, they consumed the remainder of their days in 
exile and oblivion. The Greeks who were capable of 
reflection might find some consolation for their servitude, 
by observing the abuse of power when it was lodged for a 
moment in the hands of an aristocracy. 

We shall imagine ourselves transported five hundred 
years backwards to the age of the Antonines, if we listen to 
the oration which Constans II. pronounced in the twelfth 
year of his age before the Byzantine senate. After returning 
his thanks for the just punishment of the assassins, who had 
intercepted the fairest hopes of his father's reign, "By 
the divine Providence," said the young emperor, " and by 
your righteous decree, Martina and her incestuous progeny 
have been cast headlong from the throne. Your majesty 
and wisdom have prevented the Roman state from degener- 
ating into lawless tyranny. I therefore exhort and beseech 
you to stand forth as the counsellors and judges of the 
common safety." The senators were gratified by the respect- 
ful address and liberal donative of their sovereign ; but these 
servile Greeks were unworthy and regardless of freedom ; 
and in his mind, the lesson of an hour was quickly erased by 
the prejudices of the age and the habits of despotism. He 
retained only a jealous fear lest the senate or people should 
one day invade the right of primogeniture, and seat his 
brother Theodosius on an equal throne. By the imposition 
of holy orders, the grandson of Heraclius was disqualified 
for the purple ; but this ceremony, which seemed to profane 
the sacraments of the church, was insufficient to appease the 
suspicions of the tyrant, and the death of the deacon Theo- 
dosius could alone expiate the crime of his royal birth.* 
His murder was avenged by the imprecations of the people, 
^nd the assassin, in the fulness of power, was driven from 
his cajrital into voluntary and perpetual exile. Constans 

* His soldiers (according to Abulfaradji. Chron. Syr. p. 112) called him another 
(Jam. St. Martin, t. xi. p. 379. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 185 

embarked for Greece ; and, as if he meant to retort the 
abhorrence which lie deserved, he is said, from the Imperial 
galley, to have spit against the walls of his native city. After 
passing the winter at Athens, he sailed to Tarentum in Italy, 
visited Rome,* and concluded a long pilgrimage of disgrace 
and sacrilegious rapine, by fixing his residence at Syracuse. 
But if Constans could fly from his people, he could not fly 
from himself. The remorse of his conscience created a 
phantom who pursued him by land and sea, by day and by 
night ; and the visionary Theodosius, presenting to his lips 
a cup of blood, said, or seemed to say, u Drink, brother, 
drink ; " a sure emblem of the aggravation of his guilt, since 
he had received from the hands of the deacon the mystic 
cup of the blood of Christ. Odious to himself and to man- 
kind, Constans perished by domestic, perhaps by episcopal, 
treason, in the capital of Sicily. A servant who waited in 
the bath, after pouring warm water on his head, struck him 
violently with the vase. He fell, stunned by the blow, and 
suffocated by the water ; and his attendants, who wondered 
at the tedious delay, beheld with indifference the corpse of 
their lifeless emperor. The troops of Sicily invested with 
the purple an obscure youth, whose inimitable beauty eluded, 
and it might easily elude, the declining art of the painters 
and sculptors of the age. 

Constans had left in the Byzantine palace his three sons, 
the eldest of whom had been clothed in his infancy with 
the purple. When the father summoned them to attend 
his person in Sicily, these precious hostages were detained 
by the Greeks, and a firm refusal informed him that they 
were the children of the state. The news of his murder 
was conveyed with almost supernatural speed from Syra- 
cuse to Constantinople ; and Constantine, the eldest of his 
sons, inherited his throne without being the heir of the 
public hatred. His subjects contributed, with zeal and 
alacrity, to chastise the guilt and presumption of a prov- 
ince which had usurped the rights of the senate and peo- 
ple ; the young emperor sailed from the Hellespont with a 
powerful fleet ; and the legions of Rome and Carthage 
were assembled under his standard in the harbor of Syra- 
cuse. The defeat of the Sicilian tyrant was easy, his pun- 
ishment just, and his beauteous head was exposed in the 

* He was received in Home, and pillaged the churches. He carried off the 
brass roof of the Pantheon to Syracuse, or, as Schlosser conceives, to Constanti- 
nople. Schlosser, Geschichte der bilder-stiirrnenden. Kaiser, p. 80.— M. 



186 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

hippodrome : but I cannot applaud the clemency of a 
prince!, who, among a crowd of victims, condemned the son 
of a patrician, for deploring with some bitterness the exe- 
cution of a virtuous father. The youth was castrated : lie 
survived the operation, and the memory of this indecent 
cruelty is preserved by the elevation of Germanus to the 
rank of a patriarch and saint. After pouring this bloody 
libation on his father's tomb, Constantine returned to his 
capital ; and the growth of his young beard during the 
Sicilian voyage was announced, by the familiar surname of 
Pogonatus, to the Grecian world. But his reign, like that 
of his predecessor, was stained with fraternal discord. On 
his two brothers, Heraclius and Tiberius, he had bestowed 
the title of Augustus ; an empty title, for they continued 
to languish, without trust or power, in the solitude of the 
palace. At their secret instigation, the troops of the Ana- 
tolian theme or province approached the city on the Asiatic 
side, demanded for the royal brothers the partition or exer- 
cise of sovereignty, and supported their seditious claim by 
a theological argument. They were Christians (they cried), 
and orthodox Catholics ; the sincere votaries of the holy 
and undivided Trinity. Since there are three equal per- 
sons in heaven, it is reasonable there should be three equal 
persons upon earth. The emperor invited these learned 
divines to a friendly conference, in which they might pro- 
pose their arguments to the senate r they obeyed the sum- 
mons, but the prospect of their bodies hanging on the gib- 
bet in the suburb of Galata reconciled their companions to 
the unity of the reign of Constantine. He pardoned his 
brothers, and their names were still pronounced in the pub- 
lic acclamations : but on the repetition or suspicion of a 
similar offence, the obnoxious princes were deprived of 
their titles and noses,* in the presence of the Catholic 
bishops who were assembled at Constantinople in the sixth 
general synod. In the close of his life, Pogonatus was 
anxious only to establish the right of primogeniture : the 
heir of his two sons, Justinian and Heraclius, was offered 
on the shrine of St. Peter, as a symbol of their spiritual 
adoption by the pope ; but the elder was alone exalted to 
the rank of Augustus, and the assurance of the empire. 

* Schlosser (Geschichte der bilder-stiivmenden Kaiser, p. 90) supposes that 
the young princes were mutilated after the first insurrection ; that after this the 
acts were still inscribed with their names, the princes being closely secluded in 
the palace. The improbability of this circumstance may be weighed against 
Gibbon's want of authority for his statement.— M. 



OF THE EOMAX EMPIRE. 187 

After the decease of his father, the inheritance of the 
Roman world devolved to Justinian II. ; and the name of 
a triumphant lawgiver Avas dishonored by the vices of a 
boy, who imitated his namesake only in the expensive lux- 
ury of building. His passions were strong; his under- 
standing was feeble ; and he was intoxicated with a foolish 
pride, that his birth had given him the command of mil- 
lions, of whom the smallest community would not have 
chosen him for their local magistrate. His favorite minis- 
ters were two beings the least susceptible of human sym- 
pathy, a eunuch and a monk : to the one he abandoned the 
palace, to the other the finances; the former corrected the 
emperor's mother with a scourge, the latter suspended the 
insolvent tributaries, with their heads downwards, over a 
slow and smoky fire. Since the days of Commodus and 
Caracalla, the cruelty of the Roman princes had most com- 
monly been the effect of their fear ; but Justinian, who 
possessed some vigor of character, enjoyed the sufferings, 
and braved the revenge, of his subjects, about ten years, 
till the measure was full, of his crimes and of their pa- 
tience. In a dark dungeon, Leontius, a general of reputa- 
tion, had groaned above three years, with some of the 
noblest and most deserving of the patricians ; he was sud- 
denly drawn forth to assume the government of Greece ; 
and this promotion of an injured man was a mark of the 
contempt rather than the confidence of his prince. As he 
was followed to the port by the kind offices of his friends, 
Leontius observed, with a sigh, that he was a victim 
adorned for sacrifice, and that inevitable death would pur- 
sue his footsteps. They ventured to reply, that glory and 
empire might be the recompense of a generous resolution ; 
that every order of men abhorred the reign of a monster; 
and that the hands of two hundred thousand patriots ex- 
pected only the voice of a leader. The night was chosen 
for their deliverance ; and in the first effort of the conspir- 
ators, the prefect was slain, and the prisons were forced 
open : the emissaries of Leontius proclaimed in every 
street, " Christians, to St. Sophia! " and the seasonable text 
of the patriarch, " This is the day of the Lord ! " was the 
prelude of an inflammatory sermon. From the church the 
people adjourned to the hippodrome; Justinian, in whose 
cause not a sword had been drawn, was dragged before 
these tumultuary judges, and their clamors demanded the 
instant death of the tyrant. But Leontius, who was already 



188 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

clothed with the purple,. cast an eye of pity on the prostrate 
son of his own benefactor and of so many emperors. The 
life of Justinian was spared ; the amputation of his nose, 
perhaps of his tongue, was imperfectly performed ; the 
happy flexibility of the Greek language could impose the 
name of Rhinotmetus ; and the mutilated tyrant was ban- 
ished to Chersonse in Crim-Tartary, a lonely settlement, 
where corn, wine, and oil, were imported as foreign lux- 
uries. 

On the edge of the Scythian wilderness, Justinian still 
cherished the pride of his birth, and the hope of his restora- 
tion. After three years' exile, he received the pleasing in- 
telligence that his injury was avenged by a second revolu- 
tion, and that Leontius in his turn had been dethroned and 
mutilated by the rebel Apsimar, who assumed the more 
respectable name of Tiberius. But the claim of lineal suc- 
cession was still formidable to a plebeian usurper ; and his 
jealousy was stimulated by the complaints and charges of 
the Chersonites, who beheld the vices of the tyrant in the 
spirit of the exile. With a band of followers, attached to 
his person by common hope or common despair, Justinian 
fled from the inhospitable shore to the horde of the Cho- 
zars, who pitched their tents between the Tanais and Bo- 
rysthenes. The khan entertained with pity and respect 
the royal suppliant : Phanagoria, once an opulent city, on 
the Asiatic side of the Lake Moeotis, was assigned for his 
residence ; and every Roman prejudice was stifled in his 
marriage with the sister of the Barbarian, who seems, how- 
ever, from the name of Theodora, to have received the 
sacrament of baptism. But the faithless Chozar was soon 
tempted by the gold of Constantinople : and had not the 
design been revealed by the conjugal love of Theodora, 
her husband must have been assassinated or betrayed into 
the power of his enemies. After strangling, with his own 
hands, the two emissaries of the khan, Justinian sent back 
his wife to her brother, and embarked on the Euxine in 
search of new and more faithful allies. His vessel was as- 
saulted by a violent tempest ; and one of his pious compan- 
ions advised him to deserve the mercy of God by a vow of 
general forgiveness, if he should be restored to the throne. 
" Of forgiveness ? " replied the intrepid tyrant : " may I 
perish this instant — may the Almighty whelm me in the 
waves — if I consent to spare a single head of my enemies! " 
He survived this impious menace, sailed into the mouth of 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 189 

the Danube, trusted his person in the royal village of the 
Bulgarians, and purchased the aid of Terbelis, a pagan con- 
queror, by the promise of his daughter and a fair partition 
of the treasures of the empire. The Bulgarian kingdom 
extended to the confines of Thrace ; and the two princes 
besieged Constantinople at the head of fifteen thousand 
hoi*se. Apsimar was dismayed by the sudden -and hostile 
apparition of his rival, whose head had been promised by 
the Chozar, and of whose evasion he was yet ignorant. 
After an absence of ten years, the crimes of Justinian w r ere 
faintly remembered, and the birth and misfortunes of their 
hereditary sovereign excited the pity of the multitude, ever 
discontented w T itJi the ruling powers ; and by the active dil- 
igence of his adherents, he was introduced into the city 
and palace of Constantine. 

In rewarding his allies, and recalling his wife, Justinian 
displayed some sense of honor and gratitude;* and Terbelis 
retired, after sweeping away a heap of gold coin, which he 
measured with his Scythian whip. But never was vow more 
religiously performed than the sacred oath of revenge which 
he had sworn amidst the storms of the Euxine. The two 
usurpers (for I must reserve the name of tyrant for the con- 
queror) were dragged into the hippodrome, the one from his 
prison, the other from his palace. Before their execution, 
Leontius and Apsimar were cast prostrate in chains beneath 
the throne of the emperor; and Justinian, planting a foot on 
each of their necks, contemplated above an hour the chariot- 
race, while the inconstant people shouted, in the words of the 
Psalmist, " Thou shalt trample on the asp and basilisk, and on 
the lion and dragon shalt thou set thy foot ! " The univer- 
sal defection which he had once experienced might provoke 
him to repeat the wish of Caligula, that the Roman people 
had but one head. Yet 1 shall presume to observe, that such 
a wish is unworthy of an ingenious tyrant, since his revenge 
and cruelty would have been extinguished by a single blow, 
instead of the slow variety of tortures which Justinian 
inflicted on the victims of his anger. His pleasures were 
inexhaustible ; neither private virtue nor public service could 
expiate the guilt of active, or even passive, obedience to an 
established government ; and, during the six years of his 
new reign, he considered the axe, the cord, and the rack, as 

* Of fear rather than of more generous motives. Compare Le Beau, vol. xii, 
p. 64.— M. 



190 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the only instruments of royalty. But his most implacable 
hatred was pointed against the Chersonites, who had insulted 
his exile and violated the laws of hospitality. Their remote 
situation afforded some means of defence, or at least of 
escape ; and a grievous tax was imposed on Constantinople, 
to supply the preparations of a fleet and army. u All are 
guilty, and -all must perish," was the mandate of Justinian; 
and the bloody execution was intrusted to his favorite 
Stephen, who was recommended by the epithet of the savage. 
Yet even the savage Stephen imperfectly accomplished the 
intentions of his sovereign. The slowness of his attack 
allowed the greater part of the inhabitants to withdraw into 
the country ; and the minister of vengeance contented him- 
self with reducing the youth of both sexes to a state of 
servitude, with roasting alive seven of the principal citizens, 
with drowning twenty in the sea, and with reserving forty- 
two in chains to receive their doom from the mouth of the 
emperor. In their return, the fleet was driven on the rocky 
shores of Anatolia; and Justinian applauded the obedience 
of the Euxine, which had involved so many thousands of his 
subjects and enemies in a common shipwreck : but the tyrant 
was still insatiate of blood ; and a second expedition was 
commanded to extirpate the remains of the proscribed colony. 
In the short interval, the Chersonites had returned to their 
city, and were prepared to die in arms ; the khan of the 
Chozars had renounced the cause of his odious brother ; the 
exiles of every province were assembled in Tauris ; and 
Bardanes, under the name of Philippicus, was invested with 
the purple. The Imperial troops, unwilling and unable to 
perpetrate the'revenge of Justinian, escaped his displeasure 
by abjuring his allegiance ; the fleet, under their new 
sovereign, steered back a more auspicious course to the har- 
bors of Sinope and Constantinople, and every tongue was 
prompt to pronounce, every hand to execute, the death of 
the tyrant. Destitute of friends, he was deserted by his 
Barbarian guards ; and the stroke of the assassin was praised 
as an act of patriotism and Roman virtue. His son Tiberius 
had taken refuge in a church ; his aged grandmother guarded 
the door ; and the innocent youth, suspending round his 
neck the most formidable relics, embraced with one hand 
the altar, with the other the wood of the true cross. But 
the popular fury that dares to trample on superstition, is 
deaf to the cries of humanity ; and the race of Ileraclius 
was extinguished after a reign of one hundred years. 



9 

OF THE ROMAN KM PIKE. 191 

Between the fall of the Heraclian and the rise of the 
Isaurian dynasty, a short interval of six years is divided 
into three reigns. Bardanes, or Philippicus, was hailed at 
Constantinople as a hero who had delivered his country 
from a tyrant ; and he might taste some moments of hap- 
piness in the first transports of sincere and universal joy. 
Justinian had left behind him an ample treasure, the fruit 
of cruelty and rapine : but this useful fund was soon and 
idly dissipated by his successor. On the festival of his birth- 
day, Philippicus entertained the multitude with the games 
of the hippodrome ; from thence he paraded through the 
streets with a thousand banners and a thousand trumpets ; 
refreshed himself in the baths of Zeuxippus, and returning 
to the palace, entertained his nobles with a sumptuous ban- 
quet. At the meridian hour he withdrew to his chamber, 
intoxicated with flattery and wine, and forgetful that his 
example had made every subject ambitious, and that every 
ambitious subject was his secret enemy. Some bold conspir- 
ators introduced themselves in the disorder of the feast ; 
and the slumbering monarch was surprised, bound, blinded, 
and deposed, before he was sensible of his danger Yet the 
traitors were deprived of their reward ; and the free voice 
of the senate and p.eople promoted Artemius from the office 
of secretary to that of emperor: he assumed the title of 
Anastasius the Second, and displayed in a short and trou- 
bled reign the virtues both of peace and war. But after the 
extinction of the Imperial line, the rule of obedience was 
violated, and every change diffused the seeds of new revolu- 
tions. In a mutiny of the fleet, an obscure and reluctant 
officer of the revenue was forcibly invested with the purple : 
after some months of a naval war, Anastasius resigned the 
sceptre ; and the conqueror, Theodosius the Third, submitted 
in his turn to the superioi ascendant, of Leo, the general 
and emperor of the Oriental troops. His two predecessors 
were permitted to embrace the ecclesiastical profession * the 
restless impatience of Anastasius tempted him to risk and to 
lose his life in a treasonable enterprise ; but the last days of 
Theodosius were honorable and secure. The single sublime 
word, "health," which he inscribed on his tomb, expresses 
the confidence of philosophy or religion ; and the fame of 
his miracles was long preserved among the people of Ephe- 
sus. This convenient shelter of the church might sometimes 
impose a lesson of clemency ; but it may be questioned 



192 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

whether it is for the public interest to diminish the perils of 
unsuccessful ambition. 

I have dwelt on the fall of a tyrant ; I shall briefly repre- 
sent the founder of a new dynasty, who is known to posterity 
by the invectives of his enemies, and whose public and pri- 
vate life is involved in the ecclesiastical story of the Icono- 
clasts. Yet in spite of the clamors of superstition, a favor- 
able prejudice for the character of Leo the Isaurian may be 
reasonably drawn from the obscurity of his birth, and the 
duration of his reign. — I. In an age of manly spirit, the 
prospect of an Imperial reward would have kindled every 
energy of the mind, and produced a crowd of competitors 
as deserving as they were desirous to reign. Even, in the 
corruption and debility of the modern Greeks, the elevation 
of a plebeian from the last to the first rank of society, sup- 
poses some qualifications above the level of the multitude. 
He would probably be ignorant and disdainful of speculative 
science ; and, in the pursuit of fortune, he might absolve him- 
self from the obligations of benevolence and justice; but to 
his character we may ascribe the useful virtues of prudence 
and fortitude, the knowledge of mankind, and the important 
art of gaining their confidence and directing their passions. 
It is agreed that Leo was a native of Isauria, and that Conon 
was his primitive name. The writers, whose awkward 
satire is praise, describe him as an itinerant pedlar, Who 
drove an ass with some paltry merchandise to the country 
fairs; and foolishly relate that he met on the road some 
Jewish fortune-tellers, who promised him the Roman empire, 
on condition that he should abolish the worship of idols. A 
more probable account relates the migration of his father 
from Asia Minor to Thrace, where he exercised the lucrative 
1rade of a grazier; and lie must have acquired considerable 
wealth, since the first introduction of his son was procured 
nv a supply of five hundred sheep fo the Imperial camp. 
His first service was in the guards of Justinian, where he 
soon attracted the notice, and by degrees the jealousy, of 
the tyrant. His valor and dexterity were conspicuous in 
the Colchian war : from Anastasius he received the command 
of the Anatolian legions, and by the suffrage of the soldiers 
he was raised to the empire with the general applause of the 
Roman world. — II. In this dangerous elevation, Leo the 
Third supported himself against the envy of his equals, the 
discontent of a powerful faction, and the assaults of his for- 
eign and domestic enemies. The Catholics, who accuse his 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIKjU. 193 

religious innovations, are obliged to confess that they were 
undertaken with temper and conducted with firmness. Their 
silence respects the wisdom of his administration and the 
purity of his manners. After a reign of twenty-four years, 
he peaceably expired in the palace of Constantinople ; and 
the purple which he had acquired was transmitted by the 
right of inheritance to the third generation.* 

In a long reign of thirty-four years, the son and succes- 
sor of Leo, Constantine the Fifth, surnamed Copronymus, 
attacked with less temperate zeal the images or idols of the 
church. Their votaries have exhausted the bitterness of 
religious gall, in their portrait of this spotted panther, this 
antichrist, this flying dragon of the serpent's seed, who sur- 
passed the vices of Elagabalus and Nero. His reign was a 
long butchery of whatever was most noble, or holy, or inno- 
cent, in his empire. In person, the emperor assisted at the 
execution of his victims, surveyed their agonies, listened to 
their groans, and indulged, without satiating, his appetite 
for blood ; a plate of noses was accepted as a grateful of- 
fering, and his domestics were often scourged or mutilated 
by the royal hand. His surname was derived from his pol- 
lution of his baptismal font. The infant might be excused ; 
but the manly pleasures of Copronymus degraded him be- 
low the level of a brute ; his lust confounded the eternal 
distinctions of sex and species, and he seemed to extract 
some unnatural delight from the objects most offensive to 
human sense. In -his religion the Iconoclast was a Heretic, 
a Jew, a Mahometan, a Pagan, and an Atheist ; and his be- 
lief of an invisible power could be discovered only in his 
magic rites, human victims, and nocturnal sacrifices to Venus 
and the daemons of antiquity. His life was stained with the 
most opposite vices, and the ulcers which covered his body, 
anticipated before his death the sentiment of hell-tortures. 
Of these accusations, which I have so patiently copied, a part 
is refuted by its own absurdity ; and in the private anec- 
dotes of the life of princes, the lie is more easy as the detec- 
tion is more difficult. Without adopting the pernicious 
maxim, that where much is alleged, something must be true, 
I can however discern, that Constantine the Fifth was dis- 

* During ths latter part of his reign, the hostilities of the Saracens, who 
invested a Pergamenian. named Tiberius, with the purple, and proclaimed him 
as the son of Justinian, and an earthquake, which destroyed the walls of Con- 
stantinople, compelled Leo greatly to increase the burden of taxation upon his 
tubjects. A twelfth was exacted in addition to every aureus (foiiivixa) as a wall 
sax. Theophanes, p. 275. Scblosser, BUder-stlirpaerui £a}ser, p, 197.— M, 

Vol. IV.— 13. 



194 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

solute and cruel. Calumny is more prone to exaggerate 
than to invent ; and her licentious tongue is checked in 
some measure by the experience of the age and country to 
which she appeals. Of the bishops and monks, the generals 
and magistrates, who are said to have suffered under his 
reign, the numbers are recorded, the names were conspicu- 
ous, the execution was public, the mutilation visible and 
permanent.* The Catholics hated the person and govern- 
ment of Copronymus; but even their hatred is a proof of 
their oppression. They dissembled the provocations which 
might excuse or justify his rigor, but even these provoca- 
tions must gradually inflame his resentment and harden his 
temper in the use or the abuse of despotism. Yet the char- 
acter of the fifth Constantine was not devoid of merit, nor 
did his government always deserve the curses or the con- 
tempt of the Greeks. From the confession of his enemies, 
I am informed of the restoration of an ancient aqueduct, of 
the redemption of two thousand five hundred captives, of 
the uncommon j^lenty of the times, and of the new colonics 
with which he repeopled Constantinople and the Thracian 
cities. They reluctantly praise his activity and courage ; 
he was on horseback in the field at the head of his legions ; 
and, although the fortune of his arms was various, he 
triumphed by sea and land, on the Euphrates and the 
Danube, in civil and Barbarian war. Heretical praise must 
be cast into the scale to counterbalance the weight of ortho- 
dox invective. The Iconoclasts revered the virtues of the 
prince : forty years after his death they still prayed before 
the tomb of the saint. A miraculous vision was propa- 
gated by fanaticism or fraud : and the Christian hero ap- 
peared on a milk-white steed, brandishing his lance against 
the Pagans of Bulgaria: "An absurd fable," savs the 
Catholic historian, " since Copronymus is chained with the 
daemons in the abyss of hell." 

Leo the Fourth, the son of the fifth and the father of 
the sixth Constantine, was of a feeble constitution both of 
mind f and body, and the principal care of his reign was 

* He is accused of burning the library of Constantinople, founded by Julian, 
■with its president and twelve professors. This eastern Sorbonne. had discom- 
fited the Imperial theologians on the great question of image-worship. Schlosser 
observes that this accidental tire took place six years after the emperor had laid 
the question of image-worship before the professors. Bilder-stUrinend Kaiser, 
p. 204. Compare Le Beau. vol. xii. p 156.— M. 

t Schlosser thinks more highly of Leo's mind ; but his only proof of his 
superiority is the successes of his generals against the Saracens. Schlosser, p. 
256. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 195 

the settlement of the succession. The association of the 
young Constantine was urged by the officious zeal of his 
subjects ; and the emperor, conscious of his decay, com- 
plied, after a prudent hesitation, with their unanimous 
wishes. The royal infant, at the age of five years, was 
crowned with his mother Irene ; and the national consent 
was ratified by every circumstance of pomp and solemnity, 
that could dazzle the eyes or bind the conscience of the 
Greeks. An oath of fidelity was administered in the palace, 
the church, and the hippodrome, to the several orders of 
the state, who adjured the holy names of the Son, and 
mother of God. " Be witness, O Christ ! that we will watch 
over the safety of Constantine the son of Leo, expose our 
lives in his service, and bear true allegiance to his person 
and posterity." They pledged their faith on the wood of 
the true cross, and the act of their engagement was de- 
posited on the altar of St. Sophia. The first to swear, and 
the first to violate their oath, were the five sons of Coprony- 
mus by a second marrirge ; and the story of these princes 
is singular and tragic. The right of primogeniture excluded 
them from the throne : the injustice of their elder brother 
defrauded them of a legacy of about two millions sterling; 
some vain titles were not deemed a sufficient compensation 
for wealth and power ; and they repeatedly conspired 
against their nephew, before and after the death of his 
father. Their first attempt was pardoned ; for the second 
offence* they were condemned to the ecclesiastical state; 
and for the third treason, Nicephorus, the eldest and most 
guilty, was deprived of his eyes, and his four brothers, 
Christopher, Nicetas, Anthimus, and Eudoxus, were pun- 
ished, as a milder sentence, by the amputation of their 
tongues. After five years' confinement, they escaped to the 
church of St. Sophia, and displayed a pathetic spectacle to 
the people. " Countrymen and Christians," cried Nicepho- 
rus for himself and his mute brethren, u behold the sons of 
your emperor, if you can still recognize our features in this 
miserable state. A life, an imperfect life, is all that the 
malice of our enemies has spared. It is now threatened, 
and we now throw ourselves on your compassion." The 
rising murmur might have produced a revolution, had it 
not been checked by the presence of a minister, who soothed 
the unhappy princes with flattery and hope, and gently 
drew them from the sanctuary to the palace. They were 

* The second offence was on the accession of the young Constantino,— M, 



196 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

speedily embarked for Greece, and Athens was allotted for 
the place of their exile. In this calm retreat, and in their 
helpless condition, Nicephorus and his brothers were tor- 
mented by the thirst of power, and tempted by a Sclavonian 
chief, who offered to break their prison, and to lead them in 
arms, and in the purple, to the gates of Constantinople. 
But the Athenian people, ever zealous in the cause of Irene, 
prevented her justice or cruelty ; and the five sons of Cop- 
ronymus were plunged in eternal darkness and oblivion. 

For himself, that emperor had chosen a Barbarian wife, 
the daughter of the khan of the Chozars ; but in the mar- 
riage of his heir, he preferred an Athenian virgin, an orphan, 
seventeen years old, whose sole fortune must have consisted 
in her personal accomplishments. The nuptials of Leo and 
Irene were celebrated with royal pomp ; she soon acquired 
the love and confidence of a feeble husband, and in his tes- 
tament he declared the empress guardian of the Roman 
world, and of their son Constantino the Sixth, who was no 
more than ten years of age. During his childhood, Irene 
most ably and assiduously discharged, in her public admin- 
istration, the duties of a faithful mother ; and her zeal in 
the restoration of images has deserved the name and honors 
of a saint, which she still occupies in the Greek calendar. 
But the emperor attained the maturity of youth ; the 
maternal yoke became more grievous ; and he listened to 
the favorites of his own age, who snared his pleasures, 
and were ambitious of sharing his power. Their reasons 
convinced him of his right, their praises of his ability, 
to reign ; and he consented to reward the services of 
Irene by a perpetual banishment to the Isle of Sicily. But 
her vigilance and penetration easily disconcerted their 
rash projects : a similar, or more severe, punishment was 
retaliated on themselves and their advisers ; and Irene 
inflicted on the ungrateful prince the chastisement of a 
boy. After this contest, the mother and the son were at the 
head of two domestic factions ; and instead of mild influence 
and voluntary obedience, she held in chains a captive and an 
enemy. The empress was overthrown by the abuse of vic- 
tory ; the oath of fidelity, which she exacted to herself 
alone, was pronounced with reluctant murmurs ; and the 
bold refusal of the Armenian guards encouraged a free and 
general declaration, that Constantine the Sixth was the law- 
ful emperor of the Romans. In this character he ascended 
his hereditary throne, and dismissed Irene to a life of soli- 



OF THE ROM AX EMPIRE. 197 

tude and repose. But her "haughty spirit condescended to 
the arts of dissimulation : she flattered the bishops and 
eunuchs, revived the filial tenderness of the prince, regained 
his confidence, and betrayed his credulity. The character 
of Constantine was not destitute of sense or spirit ; but his 
education had been studiously neglected ; and his ambitious 
mother exposed to the public censure the vices which she 
had nourished, and the actions which she had secretly ad- 
vised : his divorce and second marriage offended the prej- 
udices of the clergy, and by his imprudent rigor he forfeited 
the attachment of the Armenian guards. A powerful con- 
spiracy was formed for the restoration of Irene ; ai:d the 
secret, though widely diffused, was faithfully kept above 
eight months, till the emperor, suspicious of his danger, es- 
caped from Constantinople, with the design of appealing to 
the provinces and armies. By this hasty flight, the empress 
was left on the brink of the precipice ; yet before she im- 
plored the mercy of her son, Irene addressed a private 
epistle to the friends whom she had placed about his person, 
with a menace, that unless they accomplished, she would 
reveal, their treason. Their fear rendered them intrepid ; 
they seized the emperor on the Asiatic shore, and he was 
transported to the porphyry apartment of the palace, where 
he had first seen the light. In the mind of Irene, ambition 
had stifled every sentiment of humanity and nature ; and it 
was decreed in her bloody council, that Constantine should 
be rendered incapable of the throne : her emissaries assaulted 
the sleeping prince, and stabbed their daggers with such 
violence and precipitation into his e}^es as if they meant to 
execute a mortal sentence. An ambiguous passage of The- 
ophanes persuaded the annalist of the church that death was 
the immediate consequence of this barbarous execution. The 
Catholics have been deceived or subdued by the authority 
of Baronius ; and Protestant zeal has reechoed the words of 
a cardinal, desirous, as it should seem, to favor the patron- 
ess o£ images.* Yet the blind son of Irene survived many 
years, oppressed by the court and forgotten by the world ; 
the Isaurian dynasty was silently extinguished ; and the 
memory of Constantine was recalled only by the nuptials of 
his daughter Euphrosyne with the emperor Michael the 
Second. 

The most bigoted orthodoxy has justly execrated the un- 

* Gibbon has been attacked on account of this statement, but is successfully 
defended by Schlosser. B. S. Kaiser, p. 327. Compare Le Beau, c. xii. p. 372. — M. 



198 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

natural mother, who may not easily be paralleled in the his- 
tory of crimes. To her bloody deed superstition has attribu- 
ted a subsequent darkness of seventeen days ; during which 
many vessels in midday were driven from their course, as if 
the sun, a globe of fire so vast and so remote, could sym- 
pathize with the atoms of a revolving planet. On earth, the 
crime of Irene was left five year* unpunished ; her reign was 
crowned with external splendor ; and if she could silence 
the voice of conscience, she neither heard nor regarded the 
reproaches of mankind. The Roman world bowed to the 
government of a female ; and as she moved through the 
streets of Constantinople, the reins of four milk-white steeds 
were held by as many patricians, who marched on foot be- 
fore the golden chariot of their queen. But these patricians 
were for the most part eunuchs ; and their black ingratitude 
justified, on this occasion, the popular hatred and contempt. 
Raised, enriched, intrusted with the first dignities of the 
empire, they basely conspired against their benefactress ; the 
great treasurer Nicephorus was secretly invested with the 
purple ; her successor was introduced into the palace, and 
crowned at St. Sophia by the venal patriarch. In their 
first interview, she recapitulated with dignity the revolutions 
of her life, gently accused the perfidy of Nicephorus. insin- 
uated that he owed his life to her unsuspicious clemency, and 
for the throne and treasures which she resigned, solicited a 
decent and honorable retreat. His avarice refused this 
modest compensation ; and, in her exile of the Isle of Les- 
bos, the empress earned a scanty subsistence by the labors 
of her distaff. 

Many tyrants have reigned undoubtedly more criminal 
than Nicephorus, but none perhaps have more deeply incur- 
red the universal abhorrence of their people. His character 
was stained with the three odious vices of hypocrisy, ingrat- 
itude, and avarice : his want of virtue was not redeemed 
by any superior talents, nor his want of talents by any pleas- 
ing qualifications. Unskilful and unfortunate in war, Ni- 
cephorus was vanquished by the Saracens, and slain by the 
Bulgarians; and the advantage of his death overbalanced, 
in the public opinion, the destruction of a Roman army.* 
His sou and heir Stauracius escaped from the field with a 
mortal wound ; yet six months of an expiring life were suf- 

* The Syrian historian Aboulfaradj. Chron. Syr. pp. 133, 139, speaks of him as 
a brave, prudent, and pious prince, formidable to the Arabs. St. Martin, c. xii. 
p. 402. Compare Schlosser, p. 350.— M. 



OF THE ROMAtf EMPIRE. 199 

ficient to refute his indecent, though popular declaration, 
that he would in all things avoid the example of his father. 
On the near prospect of his decease, Michael, the great mas- 
ter of the palace, and the husband of his sister Procopia, 
was named by every person of the palace and city, except 
by his envious brother. Tenacious of a sceptre now falling 
from his hand, lie conspired against the life of his successor, 
and cherished the idea of changing to a democracy the 
Roman empire. But these rash projects served only to in- 
flame the zeal of the people and to remove the scruples of 
the candidate : Michael the First accepted the purple, and 
before he sunk into the grave, the son of Nieephorus im- 
plored the clemency of his new sovereign. Had Michael in 
an age of peace ascended an hereditary throne, he might 
have reigned and died the father of his people : but his mild 
virtues were adapted to the shade of private life, nor was 
he capable of controlling the ambition of his equals, or of 
resisting the arms of the victorious Bulgarians. While his 
want of ability and success exposed him to the contempt of 
the soldiers, the masculine spirit of his wife Procopia awak- 
ened their indignation. Even the Greeks of the ninth cen- 
tury were provoked by the insolence of a female, who, in 
the front of the standards, presumed to direct their disci- 
pline and animate their valor; and their licentious clamors 
advised the new Semiramis to reverence the majesty of a 
Roman camp. After an unsuccessful campaign, the em- 
peror left, in their winter-quarters of Thrace, a disaffected 
army under the command of his enemies ; and their artful 
eloquence persuaded the soldiers to break the dominion of 
the eunuchs, to degrade the husband of Procopia, and to 
assert the right of a military election. They marched tow- 
ards the capital : yet the clergy, the senate, and the people 
of Constantinople, adhered to the cause of Michael ; and the 
troops and treasures of Asia might have protracted the mis- 
chiefs of civil war. But his humanity (by the ambitious it 
will be termed his weakness) protested that not a drop of 
Christian blood should be shed in his quarrel, and his mes- 
sengers presented the conquerors with the keys of the city 
and the palace. They were disarmed by his innocence and 
submission ; his life and his eyes were spared ; and the Im- 
perial monk enjoyed the comforts of solitude and religion 
above thirty-two years after he had been stripped of the pur- 
ple and separated from his wife. 

A rebel, in the time of Nicephorus, the famous and un« 



200 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

fortunate Bardanes, had once the curiosity to consult an 
Asiatic prophet, who, after prognosticating his fall, an, 
nounced the fortunes of his three principal officers, Leo the 
Armenian, Michael the Phrygian, and Thomas the Cappa- 
docian, the successive reigns of the two former, the fruitless 
and fatal enterprise. of the third. This prediction was veri- 
fied, or rather was produced, by the event. Ten years af- 
terwards, when the Thracian camp rejected the husband 
of Procopia, the crown was presented to the same Leo, 
the first in military rank and the secret author of tb > 
mutiny. As he affected to hesitate, " With this sword," saki 
his companion Michael, " I will open the gates of Constan- 
tinople to your Imperial sway ; or instantly plunge it into 
your bosom, if you obstinately resist the just desires of your 
fellow-soldiers." The compliance of the Armenian was 
rewarded with the empire, and he reigned seven years and 
a half under the name of Leo the Fifth. Educated in a 
camp, and ignorant both of laws and letters, he introduced 
iuto his civil government the rigor and even cruelty of mili- 
tary discipline ; but if his severity was sometimes danger- 
ous to the innocent, it was always formidable to the guilty. 
His religious inconstancy was taxed by the epithet of 
Chameleon, but the Catholics have acknowledged by the 
voice of a saint and confessors, that the life of the Icon- 
oclast was useful to the republic. The zeal of his com- 
panion Michael was repaid with riches, honors, and mili- 
tary command; and his subordinate talents were benefici- 
ally employed in the public service. Yet the Phrygian 
was dissatisfied at receiving as a favor a scanty portion of 
the Imperial prize which he had bestowed on his equal ; and 
his discontent, which sometimes evaporated in hasty di3- 
course, at length assumed a more threatening and hostile as- 
pect against a prince whom he represented as a cruel tyrant. 
That tyrant, however, repeatedly detected, warned, and 
dismissed the old companion of his arms, till fear and resent- 
ment prevailed over gratitude ; and Michael, after a scru- 
tiny into his actions and designs, was convicted of treason, 
and sentenced to be burnt alive in the furnace of the private 
baths. The devout humanity of the empress Theophano was 
fatal to her husband and family. A solemn day, the twenty- 
fifth of December, had been fixed for the execution : she 
urged, that the anniversary of the Saviour's birth would be 
profaned by this inhuman spectacle, and Leo consented with 
reluctance to a decent respite. But on the vigil of the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 201 

feast, his sleepless anxiety prompted him to visit at the dead 
of night the chamber in which his enemy was confined : he 
beheld him released from his chain, and stretched on his 
jailer's bed in a profound slumber. Leo was alarmed at 
these signs of security and intelligence ; but though he re- 
tired with silent steps, his entrance and departure were no- 
ticed by a slave who lay concealed in a corner of the prison. 
Under the pretence of requesting the spiritual aid of a 
confessor, Michael informed the conspirators, that their lives 
depended on his discretion, and that a few hours were left 
to assure their own safety, by the deliverance of their friend 
and country. On the great festivals, a chosen band of 
priests and chanters was admitted into the palace by a pri- 
vate gate to sing matins in the chapel ; and Leo, who regu- 
lated with the same strictness the discipline of the choir and 
of the camp, was seldom absent from these early devotions. 
In the ecclesiastical habit, but with swords under their robes, 
the conspirators mingled with the procession, lurked in the 
angles of the chapel, and expected, as the signal of murder, 
the intonation of the first psalm by the emperor himself. 
The imperfect light, and the uniformity of dress, might have 
favored his escape, whilst their assault was pointed against 
a harmless priest ; but they soon discovered their mistake, 
and encompassed on all sides the royal victim. Without a " 
weapon and without a friend, he grasped a weighty cross, 
and stood at bay against the hunters of his life ; but as he 
asked for mercy, " This is the hour, not of mercy, but of 
vengeance," was the inexorable reply. The stroke of a well- 
aimed sword separated from his body the right arm and the 
cross, and Leo the Armenian was slain at the foot of the 
altar. 

A memorable reverse of fortune was displayed in Michael 
the Second, who from a defect in his speech was surnamed 
the Stammerer. He was snatched from the fiery furnace to 
the sovereignty of an empire; and as in the tumult a smith 
could not readily be found, the fetters remained on his legs 
several hours after he was seated on the throne of the Caesars. 
The royal blood which had been the price of his elevation, 
was unprofitably spent: in the purple be retained the igno- 
ble vices of his origin ; and Michael lost his provinces with 
as supine indifference as if they had been the inheritance of 
his fathers. His title was disputed by Thomas, the last of 
the military triumvirate, who transported into Europe four- 
score thousand Barbarians from the banks of the Tigris and 



202 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the shores of the Caspian. He formed the siege of Constan- 
tinople; but the capital was defended with spiritual and 
carnal weapons ; a Bulgarian king assaulted the camp of 
the Orientals, and Thomas had the misfortune, or the weak- 
ness, to fall alive into the power of the conqueror. The 
hands and feet of the rebel were amputated ; he was placed 
on an ass, and, amidst the insults of the people, was led 
through the streets, which he sprinkled with his blood. The 
depravation of manners, as savage as they were corrupt, is 
marked by the presence of the emperor himself. Deaf to 
the lamentations of a fellow-soldier, he incessantly pressed 
the discovery of more accomplices, till his curiosity was 
checked by the question of an honest or guilty minister : 
" Would you give credit to an enemy against the most faith- 
ful of your friends ? " After the death of his first wife, the 
emperor, at the request of the senate, drew from her monas- 
tery Euphrosyne, the daughter of Constantine the Sixth. 
Her august birth might justify a stipulation in the marriage- 
contract, that her children should equally share the empire 
with their elder brother. But the nuptials of Michael and 
Euphrosyne were barren ; and she was content with the 
title of mother of Theophilus, his son and successor. 

The character of Theophilus is a rare example in which 
religious zeal has allowed, and perhaps magnified, the vir- 
tues of a heretic and a persecutor. His valor was often felt 
by the enemies, and his justice by the subjects, of the mon- 
archy; but the valor of Theophilus was rash and fruitless, 
and his justice arbitrary and cruel. He displayed the ban- 
ner of the cross against the Saracens; but his five expedi- 
tions were concluded by a signal overthrow : Amorium, the 
native city of his ancestors, was levelled with the ground, 
and from his military toils he derived only the surname of 
the Unfortunate. The wisdom of a sovereign is comprised 
in the institution of laws and the choice of magistrates, and 
while he seems without action, his civil government revolves 
round his centre with the silence and o^der of the planetary 
system. But the justice of Theophilus was fashioned on the 
model of the Oriental despots, Avho, in personal and irregu- 
lar acts of authority, consult the reason or passion of the 
moment, without measuring the sentence by the law, or the 
penalty by the offence. A poor woman threw herself at the 
emperor's feet to complain of a powerful neighbor, the 
brother of the empress, w T ho had raised his palace-wall to 
such an inconvenient height, that her humble dwelling was 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIKE. 203 

excluded from light and air ! On the proof of the fact, in- 
stead of granting, like an ordinary judge, sufficient or ample 
damages to the plaintiff, the sovereign adjudged to her use 
and benefit the palace and the ground. Nor was Theophilus 
content with this extravagant satisfaction: his zeal converted 
a civil trespass into a criminal act ; and the unfortunate 
patrician was stripped and scourged in the public place of 
Constantinople. For some venial offences, some defect of 
equity or vigilance, the principal ministers, a praefect, a 
quasstor, a captain of the guards, were banished or mutilated, 
or scalded with boiling pitch, or burnt alive in the hippo- 
drome : and as these dreadful examples might be the effects 
of error or caprice, they must have alienated from his ser- 
vice the best and wisest of the citizens. But the pride of 
the monarch was flattered in the exercise of power, or, as he 
thought, of virtue : and the people, safe in their obscurity, 
applauded the danger and debasement of their superiors. 
This extraordinary rigor was justified, in some measure, by 
its salutary consequences ; since, after a scrutiny of seven- 
teen days, not a complaint or abuse could be found in the 
court or city : and it might be alleged that the Greeks could 
be ruled only with a rod of iron, and that the public inter- 
est is the motive and law of the supreme judge. Yet in the 
crime, or the suspicion, of treason, that judge is of all others 
the most credulous and partial. Theophilus might inflict a 
tardy vengeance on. the assassins of Leo and the saviors of 
his father; but he enjoyed the fruits of their crime; and his 
jealous tyranny sacrificed a brother and a prince to the fu- 
ture safety of his life. A Persian of the race of the Sassan- 
ides died in poverty .and exile at Constantinople, leaving an 
only son, the issue of a plebeian marriage. At the age of 
twelve years, the royal birth of Theophobus was revealed, 
and his merit was not unworthy of his birth. He was edu- 
cated in the Byzantine palace, a Christian and a soldier; ad- 
vanced with rapid steps in the career of fortune and glory; 
received the hand of the emperor's sister ; and was promo- 
ted to the command of thirty thousand Persians, who, like 
his father, had fled from the Mahometan conquerors. These 
troops, doubly infected with mercenary and fanatic vices, 
were desirous of revolting against their benefactor, and erect- 
ing the standard of their native king : but the loyal Theoph- 
obus rejected their offers, disconcerted their schemes, and 
escaped from their hands to the camp or palace of his royal 
brother. A generous confidence might have secured a faith- 



204 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

ful and able guardian for his wife and his infant son, to whom 
Theophilus, in the flower of his age, was compelled to leave 
the inheritance of the empire. But his jealousy was exas- 
perated by envy and disease ; he feared the dangerous vir- 
tues which might either support or oppress their infancy 
and weakness; and the dying emperor demanded the head 
of the Persian prince. With savage delight he recognized 
the familiar features of his brother : " Thou art no longer 
Theophobus," he said ; and, sinking on his couch, he added, 
with a faltering voice, " Soon, too soon, I shall be no more 
Theophilus ! " 

The Russians, who have borrowed from the Greeks the 
greatest part of their civil and ecclesiastical policy, pre- 
served, till the last century, a singular institution in the mar- 
riage of the Czar. They collected, not the virgins of every 
rank and of every province, a vain and romantic idea, but 
the daughters of the principal nobles, who awaited in the 
palace the choice of their sovereign. It is affirmed, that a 
similar method was adopted in the nuptials of Theophilus. 
With a golden apple in his hand, he slowly walked between 
two lines of contending beauties : his eye was detained by 
the charms of Icasia, and in the awkwardness of a first dec- 
laration, the prince could only observe, that, in this world, 
women had been the cause of much evil ; " And surely, sir," 
she pertly replied, " they have likewise been the occasion of 
much good." This affectation of unseasonable wit displeased 
the Imperial lover : he turned aside in disgust ; Icasia con- 
cealed her mortification in a convent ; and the modest silence 
of Theodora was rewarded with the golden apple. She de- 
served the love, but did not escape the severity, of her lord. 
From the palace garden he beheld a vessel deeply laden, and 
steering into the port : on the discovery that the precious 
cargo of Syrian luxury was the property of his wife, he con- 
demned the ship to the flames, with a sharp reproach, 
that her avarice had degraded the character of an em- 
press into that of a merchant. Yet his last choice intrusted 
her with the guardianship of the empire and her son 
Michael, who was left an orphan in the fifth year of his 
age. The restoration of images, and the final extirpa- 
tion of the Iconoclasts, has endeared .her name to the de- 
votion of the Greeks ; but in the fervor of religious zeal, 
Theodora entertained a grateful regard for the memory and 
salvation of her husband. After thirteen years of a prudent 
and frugal administration, she perceived the decline of her 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 205 

influence; but the second Irene imitated only the virtues of 
her predecessor. Instead of conspiring against the life or 
government of her son, she retired, without a struggle, 
though not without a murmur, to the solitude of private 
life, deploring the ingratitude, the vices, and the inevitable 
ruin, of the worthless youth. 

Among the successors of Nero and Elagabalus, we have 
not hitherto found the imitation of their vices, the character 
of a Roman prince who considered pleasure as the objeet of 
life, and virtue as the enemy of pleasure. Whatever might 
have been the maternal care of Theodora in the education 
of Miehael the Third, her unfortunate son was a king before 
he was a man. If the ambitious mother labored to check 
the progress of reason, she could not cool the ebullition of 
passion; and her selfish policy was justly repaid by the con- 
tempt and ingratitude of the headstrong youth. At the age 
of eighteen, he rejected her authority, without feeling his 
own incapacity to govern the empire and himself. With 
Theodora, all gravity and w T isdom retired from the court ; 
their place was supplied by the alternate dominion of vice 
and folly; and it was impossible, without forfeiting the 
public esteem, to acquire or preserve the favor of the em- 
peror. The millions of gold and silver which had been ac- 
cumulated for the service of the state, were lavished on the 
vilest of men, who nattered his passions and shared his 
Measures ; and in a reign of thirteen years, the riehest of 
sovereigns was compelled to strip the palace and the 
churches of their precious furniture. Like Nero, he de- 
lighted in the amusements of the theatre, and sighed to be 
surpassed in the accomplishments in which he should have 
blushed to excel. Yet the studies of Nero in music and 
poetry betrayed some symptoms of a liberal taste ; the 
more ignoble arts of the son of Theophilus were confined 
to the chariot-race of the hippodrome. The four factions 
which had agitated the peace, still amused the idleness, of 
the capital : for himself, the emperor assumed the blue 
livery ; the three rival colors were distributed to his favor- 
ites, and in the vile though eager contention he forgot the 
dignity of his person and the safety of his dominions. He 
silenced the messenger of an invasion, who presumed to 
divert his attention in the most critical moment of the race ; 
and by his command, the importunate beacons were extin- 
guished, that too frequently spread the alarm from Tarsus 
to Constantinople. The most skilful charioteers obtained 



206 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the first place in his confidence and esteem ; their merit 
was profusely rewarded: the emperor feasted in their 
houses, and presented their children at the baptismal font ; 
and while lie applauded his own popularity, he affected to 
blame the cold and stately reserve of his predecessors. The 
unnatural lusts which had degraded even the manhood of 
Nero, were banished from the world ; yet the strength of 
Michael was consumed by the indulgence of love and in- 
temperance.* In his midnight revels, when his passions 
were in flamed by wine, he was provoked to issue the most 
sanguinary commands; and if any feelings of humanity 
were left, he was reduced, with the return of sense, to ap- 
prove the salutary disobedience of his servants. But the 
most extraordinary feature in the character of Michael, is 
the profane mockery of the religion of his country. The 
superstition of the Greeks might indeed excite the smile of 
a philosopher ; but his smile would have been rational and 
temperate, and he must have condemned the ignorant folly 
of a youth who insulted the objects of public veneration. 
A buffoon of the court was invested in the robes of the pa- 
triarch: his twelve metropolitans, among whom the emper- 
or was ranked, assumed their ecclesiastical garments: they 
used or abused the sacred vessels of the altar; and in their 
bacchanalian feasts, the holy communion was administered 
in a nauseous compound of vinegar and mustard. Nor 
were these impious spectacles concealed from the eyes of 
the city. On the day of a solemn festival, the emperor, 
with his bishops or buffoons, rode on asses through the 
streets, encountered the true patriarch at the head of his 
clergy; and by their licentious shouts and obscene gestures, 
disordered the gravity of the Christian procession. The de- 
votion of Michael appeared only in some offence to reason 
or piety; he received his theatrical crowns from the statue 
of the Virgin; and an Imperial tomb was violated for the 
sake of burning the bones of Constantine the Iconoclast. 
By this extravagant conduct, the son of Theophilus became 
as contemptible as he was odious : every citizen was im- 
patient for the deliverance of his country; and even the 
favorites of the moment were apprehensive that a caprice 
might snatch away what a caprice had bestowed. In the 
thirtieth year of his age, and in the hour of intoxication 

* In a campaign against the Saracens lie betrayed both imbecility and coward- 
ice. Genesius, c. iv. p. U4.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 207 

and sleep, Michael the Third was murdered in his chamber by 
the founder of a new dynasty, whom the emperor had raised 
to an equality of rank and power. 

The genealogy of Basil the Macedonian (if it be not the 
spurious offspring of pride and flattery), exhibits a genuine 
picture of the revolution of the most illustrious families. 
The Arsacides, the rivals of Rome, possessed the sceptre of 
the East near four hundred years : a younger branch of 
these Parthian kings continued to reign in Armenia; and 
their royal descendants survived the partition and servitude 
of that ancient monarchy. Two of these, Artabanus and 
Chlienes, escaped or retired to the court of Leo the First: 
his bounty seated them in a safe and hospitable exile, in the 
province of Macedonia: Adrianoplc was their final settle- 
ment. During several generations they maintained the 
dignity of their birth; and their Eoman patriotism rejected 
the tempting offers of the Persian and Arabian powers, who 
recalled them to their native country. But their splendor 
was insensibly clouded by time and poverty; and the father 
of Basil was reduced to a small farm, which he cultivated 
with his own hands : yet he scorned to disgrace the blood 
of the Arsacides by a plebeian alliance ; his wife, a widow 
of Adrianople, was pleased to count among her ancestors 
the great Constantine ; and their royal infant was connected 
by some dark affinity of lineage or country with the Mace- 
donian Alexander. No sooner was he born, than the cradle 
of Basil, his family, and his city, were swept away by an in- 
undation of the Bulgarians : he was educated a slave in a 
foreign land ; and in this severe discipline, he acquired the 
hardiness of body and flexibility of mind which promoted 
his future elevation. In the age of youth or manhood he 
shared the deliverance of the Roman captives, who gener- 
ously broke their fetters, marched through Bulgaria to the 
shores of the Euxine, defeated two armies of Barbarians, 
embarked in the ships which had been stationed for their 
reception, and returned to Constantinople, from whence 
they were distributed to their respective homes. But the 
freedom of Basil was naked and destitute: his farm was 
ruined by the calamities of war : after his father's death, his 
manual labor, or service, could no longer support a family 
of orphans; and he resolved to seek a more conspicuous 
theatre, in which every virtue and every vice may lead to 
the paths of greatness. The first night of his arrival at 
Constantinople, without friends or money, the weary pil- 



208 THIS DECLINE AND FALL 

grim slept on the steps of the church of St. Diomede : he 
was fed by the casual hospitality of a monk ; and was in- 
troduced to the service of a cousin and namesake of the 
emperor Theophilus; who, though himself of a diminutive 
person, was always followed by a train of tall and hand- 
some domestics. Basil attended his patron to the govern- 
ment of Peloponnesus ; eclipsed, by his personal merit, the 
birth and dignity of Theophilus, and formed a useful con- 
nection with a wealthy and charitable matron of Patras. 
Her spiritual or carnal love embraced the young adven- 
turer, whom she adopted as her son. Danielis presented 
him witli thirty slaves; and the produce of her bounty was 
expended in the support of his brothers, and the purchase 
of some large estates in Macedonia. His gratitude or am- 
bition still attached him to the service of Theophilus; and 
a lucky accident recommended him to the notice of the 
court. A famous wrestler, in the train of the Bulgarian 
ambassadors, had defied, at the royal banquet, the boldest 
and most robust of the Greeks. The strength of Basil was 
praised ; he accepted the challenge ; and the Barbarian 
champion was overthrown at the first onset. A beautiful 
but vicious horse was condemned to be hamstrung: it was 
subdued by the dexterity and courage of the servant of 
Theophilus ; and his conqueror was promoted to an honor- 
able rank in the Imperial stables. But it was impossible to 
obtain the confidence of Michael, without complying with 
his vices ; and his new favorite, the great chamberlain of 
the palace, w r as raised and supported by a disgraceful mar- 
riage with a royal concubine, and the dishonor of his sister, 
who succeeded to her place. The public administration had 
been abandoned to the Caesar Bardas, the brother and enemy 
of Theodora ; but the arts of female influence persuaded 
Michael to hate and to fear his uncle : he w r as drawn from 
Constantinople, under the pretence of a Cretan expedition, 
and stabbed in the tent of audience, by the sw r ord of the 
chamberlain, and in the presence of the emperor. About a 
month after this execution, Basil was invested with the title 
of Augustus and the government of the empire. He sup- 
ported this unequal association till his influence was forti- 
fied by popular esteem. His life was endangered by the 
caprice of the emperor; and his dignity w r as profaned by a 
second colleague, who had rowed in the galleys. Yet the 
murder of his benefactor must be condemned as an act of 
ingratitude and treason ; and the churches which he dedi- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 209 

cated to the name of St. Michael were a poor and puerile 
expiation of his guilt. 

The different ages of Basil the First may be compared 
with those of Augustus. The situation of the Greek did 
not allow him in his earliest youth to lead an army against 
his country, or to proscribe the noblest of her sons; but his 
aspiring genius stooped to the arts of a slave ; he dissembled 
his ambition and even his virtues, and grasped, with the 
bloody hand of an assassin, the empire which he ruled with 
the wisdom and tenderness of a parent. A private citizen 
may feel his interest repugnant to his duty ; but it must be 
from a deficiency of sense or courage, that an absolute mon- 
arch can separate his happiness from his glory, or his glory 
from the public welfare. The life or panegyric of Basil has 
indeed been composed and published under the long reign 
of his descendants ; but even their stability on the throne 
may be justly ascribed to the superior merit of their ances- 
tor. In his character, his grandson Constantine has at- 
tempted to delineate a perfect image of royalty; but that 
feeble prince, unless he had copied a real model, could not 
easily have soared so high above the level of his own con- 
duct or conceptions. But the most solid praise of Basil is 
drawn from the comparison of a ruined and a flourishing 
monarchy, that which he wrested from the dissolute Michael, 
and that which he bequeathed to the Macedonian dynasty. 
The evils which had been sanctified by time and example, 
were corrected by his master-hand ; and he revived, if not 
the national spirit, at least the order and majesty of the Ro- 
man empire. His application was indefatigable, his temper 
cool, his understanding vigorous and decisive ; and in his 
practice he observed that rare and salutary moderation, 
which pursues each virtue, at an equal distance between the 
opposite vices. His military service had been confined to 
the palace : nor was the emperor endowed with the spirit 
or the talents of a warrior. Yet under his reign the Roman 
arms were again formidable to the Barbarians. As soon as 
he had formed a new army by discipline and exercise, he 
appeared in person on the banks of the Euphrates, curbed 
the pride of the Saracens, and suppressed the dangerous 
though just revolt of the Manichaeans. His indignation 
against a rebel who had long eluded his pursuit, provoked 
him to wish and to pray, that, by the grace of God, he 
might drive three arrows into the head of Chrysochir. That 
odious head, which had been obtained by treason rather 
y oL . IV.— 14 



210 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

than by valor, was suspended from a tree, and thrice ex- 
posed to the dexterity of the Imperial archer ; a base re- 
venge against the dead, more worthy of the times than of 
the character of Basil. But his principal merit was in the 
civil administration of the finances and of the laws. To 
replenish an exhausted treasury, it was proposed to resume 
the lavish and ill-placed gifts of his predecessor; his pru- 
dence abated one moiety of the restitution ; and a turn of 
twelve hundred thousand pounds was instantly procured to 
answer the most pressing demands, and to allow some space 
for the mature operations of economy. Among the various 
schemes for the improvement of the revenue, a new mode 
was suggested of capitation, or tribute, which would have 
too much depended on the arbitrary discretion of the asses- 
sors. A sufficient list of honest and able agents was in- 
stantly produced by the minister ; but on the more careful 
scrutiny of Basil himself, only two could be found, who 
might be safely intrusted with such dangerous powers ; and 
they justified his esteem by declining his confidence. But 
the serious and successful diligence of the emperor estab- 
lished by degrees an equitable balance of property and pay- 
ment, of receipt and expenditure ; a peculiar fund was ap- 
propriated to each service; and a public method secured 
the interest of the prince and the property of the people. 
After reforming the luxury, he assigned two patrimonial 
estates to supply the decent plenty, of the Imperial table ; 
the contributions of the subject were reserved for Ins de- 
fence ; and the residue was employed in the embellishment 
of the capital and provinces. A taste for building, however 
costly, may deserve some praise and much excuse ; from 
thence industry is fed, art is encouraged, and some object 
is attained of public emolument or pleasure ; the use of a 
road, an aqueduct, or a hospital, is obvious and solid ; and 
the hundred churches that arose by the command of Basil 
were consecrated to the devotion of the age. In the char- 
acter of a judge he was assiduous and impartial ; desirous 
to save, but not afraid to strike ; the oppressors of the peo- 
ple were severely chastised : but his personal foes, whom it 
might be unsafe to pardon, were condemned, after the loss 
of their eyes, to a life of solitude and repentance. The 
change of language and manners demanded a revision of 
the obsolete jurisprudence of Justinian ; the voluminous 
body of his Institutes, Pandects, Code, and Novels, was di- 
gested under forty titles, in the- Greek idiom : and the Ba- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 211 

silics, which were improved and completed by his son and 
grandson, must be referred to the original genius of the 
founder of their race. This glorious reign was terminated 
by an accident in the chase. A furious stag entangled his 
horns in the belt of Basil, and raised him from his horse ; 
he was rescued by an attendant, who cut the belt and slew 
the animal ; but the fall, or the fever, exhausted the strength 
of the aged monarch, and he expired in the palace amidst 
the tears of his family and people. If he struck off the head 
of the faithful servant for presuming to draw his sword 
against his sovereign, the pride of despotism, which had 
lain dormant in his life, revived in the last moments of de- 
spair, when he no longer wanted or valued the opinion of 
mankind. 

Of the four sons of the emperor, Con stan tine died before 
his father, whose grief and credulity were amused by a 
nattering impostor and a vain apparition. Stephen, the 
youngest, was content with the honors of a patriarch and a 
saint ; both Leo and Alexander were alike invested with 
the purple, but the powers of government were solely exer- 
cised by the elder brother. The name of Leo the Sixth has 
been dignified with the title of philosopher ; and the union 
of the prince and the sage, of the active and speculative vir- 
tues, would indeed constitute the perfection of human na- 
ture. But the claims of Leo are far short of this ideal ex- 
cellence. Did he reduce his passions and appetites under 
the dominion of reason ? His life was spent in the pomp of 
the palace, in the society of his wives and concubines ; and 
even the clemency which he showed, and the peace which 
he strove to preserve, must be imputed to the softness and 
indolence of his character. Did he subdue his prejudices, 
and those of his subjects? His mind was tinged with the 
most puerile superstition ; the influence of the clergy, and 
the errors of the people, were consecrated by his laws ; and 
the oracles of Leo, which reveal, in prophetic style, the fates 
of the empire, are founded on the arts of astrology and di- 
vination. If we still inquire the reason of his sage appella- 
tion, it can only be replied, that the son of Basil was less 
ignorant than the greater part of his contemporaries in 
church and state; that his education had been directed by 
the learned Photius ; and that several books of profane and 
ecclesiastical science were composed by the pen, or in the 
name, of the Imperial philosopher. But the reputation of 
his philosophy and religion was overthrown by a domestic 



212 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

vice, the repetition of his nuptials. The primitive ideas of 
the merit and holiness of celibacy were preached by the 
monks and entertained by the Greeks. Marriage was al- 
lowed as a necessary means for the propagation of mankind ; 
after the death of either party, the survivor might satisfy, 
by a second union, the weakness or the strength of the 
flesh ; but a third marriage was censured as a state of legal 
fornication ; and a fourth was a sin or scandal as yet un- 
known to the Christians of the East. In the beginning of 
his reign, Leo himself had abolished the state of concubines, 
and condemned, without annulling, third marriages ; but his 
patriotism and love soon compelled him to violate his own 
laws, and to incur the penance, which in a similar case he 
had imposed on his subjects. In his three first alliances, 
his nuptial bed was unfruitful ; the emperor required a fe- 
male companion, and the empire a legitimate heir. The 
beautiful Zoe was introduced into the palace as a concu- 
bine ; and after a trial of her fecundity, and the birth of 
Constantine, her lover declared his intention of legitimating 
the mother and the child, by the celebration of his fourth 
nuptials. But the patriarch Nicholas refused his blessing ; 
the Imperial baptism of the young prince was obtained by 
a promise of separation ; and the contumacious husband of 
Zoe was excluded from the communion of the faithful. 
Neither the fear of exile, nor the desertion of his brethren, 
nor the authority of the Latin church, nor the danger of 
failure or doubt in the succession to the empire, could bend 
the spirit of the inflexible monk. After the death of Leo, 
he was recalled from exile to the civil and ecclesiastical ad- 
ministration ; and the edict of union which was promul- 
gated in the name of Constantine, condemned the future 
scandal of fourth marriages, and left a tacit imputation on 
his own birth. 

In the Greek language, purple and porphyry are the 
same word ; and as the colors of nature are invariable, 
we may learn, that a dark deep red w T as the Tyrian dye 
which stained the purple of the ancients. An apart- 
ment of the Byzantine palace was lined with porphyry; 
it was reserved for the use of the pregnant empresses ; 
and the royal birth of their children was expressed by 
the appellation of porphyroc/enite, or born in the pur- 
ple. Several of the Roman princes had been blessed 
with an heir ; but this peculiar surname was first applied 
to Constantine the Seventh. His life and titular reign 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 213 

were of equal duration : but of fifty-four years, six had 
elapsed before his father's death ; aud the son of Leo was 
ever the voluntary or reluctant subject of those who op- 
pressed his weakness or abused his confidence. His uncle 
Alexander, who had long been invested with the title of 
Augustus, was the first colleague and governor of the young 
prince : but in a rapid career of vice and folly, the brother 
of Leo already emulated the reputation of Michael ; and 
when he was extinguished by a timely death, he entertained 
a project of castrating his nephew, and leaving the empire 
to a worthless favorite. The succeeding years of the 
minority of Constantine were occupied by his mother Zoe, 
and a succession or council of seven regents, who pursued 
their interest, gratified their passions, abandoned the repub- 
lic, supplanted each other, and finally vanished in the pres- 
ence of a soldier. From an obscure origin, Rom an us Le- 
capenus had raised himself to the command of the naval 
armies ; and in the anarchy of the times, had deserved, or 
at least had obtained, the national esteem. With a victori- 
ous and affectionate fleet, lie sailed from the mouth of the 
Danube into the harbor of Constantinople, and was hailed 
as the deliverer of the people, and the guardian of the 
prince. His supreme office was at first defined by the new 
appellation of father of the emperor ; but Romanus soon 
disdained the subordinate powers of a minister, and as- 
sumed, with the titles of Caesar and Augustus, the full inde- 
pendence of royalty, which he held near five-and-twenty 
years. His three sons, Christopher, Stephen, and Constan- 
tine, were successively adorned with the same honors, and 
the lawful emperor was degraded from the first to the fifth 
rank in this college of princes. Yet, in the preservation of 
his life and crown, he might still applaud his own fortune 
and the clemency of the usurper. The examples of ancient 
and modern history would have excused the ambition of 
Romanus : the powers and the laws of the empire were in 
his hand ; the spurious birth of Constantine would have jus- 
tified his exclusion ; and the grave or the monastery was 
open to receive the son of the concubine. But Lecapenus 
does not appear to have possessed either the virtues or the 
vices of a tyrant. The spirit and activity of his private life 
dissolved away in the sunshine of the throne ; and in his 
licentious pleasures, he forgot the safety of both the repub- 
lic and of his family. Of a mild and religious character, he 
respected the sanctity of oaths, the innocence of the youth, 



211 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the memory of his parents, and the attachment of the peo- 
ple. The studious temper and retirement of Constantino 
disarmed the jealousy of power: Ids books and music, lis 
pen and his pencil, were a constant source of amusement; 
and if he could improve a scanty allowance by the sale of 
Ids pictures, if their price was not enhanced by the name of 
the artist, he was endowed with a personal talent, which 
few princes could employ in the hour of adversity. 

The fall of Romanus was occasioned by his own vices 
and those of his children. After the decease of Christopher, 
his eldest son, the two surviving brothers quarrelled with 
each other, and conspired against their father. At the hour 
of noon, when all strangers were regularly excluded from 
the palace, they entered his apartment with an armed force, 
and conveyed him, in the habit of a monk, to a small island 
in the Propontis, which was peopled by a religious com- 
munity. The rumor of this domestic revolution excited a 
tumult in the city ; but Porphyrogenitus alone, the true and 
lawful emperor, was the object of the public care; and the 
sons of Lecapenus were taught, by tardy experience, that 
they had achieved a guilty and perilous enterprise for the 
benefit of their rival. Their sister Helena, thewife of Con- 
stantine, revealed, or supposed, their treacherous design of 
assassinating her husband at the royal banquet. His loyal 
adherents were alarmed, and the two usurpers were pre- 
vented, seized, degraded from the purple, and embarked for 
the same island and monastery where their father had been 
so lately confined. Old Romanus met them on the beach 
with a sarcastic smile, and after a just reproach of their 
folly and ingratitude, presented his Imperial colleagues with 
an equal share of his water and vegetable diet. In the 
fortieth year of his reign, Constantine the Seventh obtained 
the possession of the Eastern world, which he ruled, or 
seemed to rule, near fifteen years. But he was devoid of 
that energy of character which could emerge into a life of 
action and glory ; and the studies which had amused and 
dignified his leisure, were incompatible with the serious 
duties of a sovereign. The emperor neglected the practice 
to instruct his son Romanus in the theory of government; 
while he indulged the habits of intemperance and sloth, 
he dropped the reins of the administration into the hands 
of Helena his wife; and, in the shifting scene of her favor 
and caprice, each minister was regretted in the promotion 
of a more worthless successor. Yet the birth and misfor- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 215 

tunes of Constantine had endeared him to the Greeks ; they 
excused his failings ; they respected his learning, his inno- 
cence, and charity, his love of justice; and the* ceremony of 
his funeral was mourned with the unfeigned tears of his 
subjects. The body, according to ancient custom, lay in 
state in the vestibule of the palace; and the civil and mili- 
tary officers, the patricians, the senate, and the clergy ap- 
proached in due order to adore and kiss the inanimate corpse 
of their sovereign. Before the procession moved towards 
the Imperial sepulchre, a herald proclaimed this awful ad- 
monition : " Arise, O king of the world, and obey the sum- 
mons of the King of kings ! " 

The death of Constantine was imputed to poison ; and 
his son Romanus, who derived that name from his maternal 
grandfather, ascended the throne of Constantinople. A 
prince who, at the age of twenty, could be suspected of an- 
ticipating his inheritance, must have been already lost in the 
public esteem ; yet Romanus was rather weak than wicked ; 
and the largest share of the guilt was transferred to his wife, 
Theophano, a woman of base origin, masculine spirit, and 
flagitious manners. The sense of personal glory and public 
happiness, the true pleasures of royalty, were unknown to 
the son of Constantine; and, while the two brothers, Ni» 
cephorus and Leo, triumphed over the Saracens, the hours 
which the emperor owed to his people were consumed in 
strenuous idleness. In the morning he visited the circus ; 
at noon he feasted the senators; the greater part of the 
afternoon he spent in the spJmristerium, or tennis-court, the 
only theatre of his victories; from thence he passed over to 
the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, hunted and killed four 
wild boars of the largest size, and returned to the palace, 
proudly content with the labors of the day. In strength 
and beauty he was conspicuous above his equals : tall and 
straight as a young cypress, his complexion was fair and 
florid, his eyes sparkling, his shoulders broad, his nose long 
and aquiline. Yet even these perfections were insufficient 
to fix the love of Theophano ; and, after a reign of four * 
years, she mingled for her husband the same deadly draught 
which she had composed for his father. 

By his marriage with this impious woman, Romanus the 
younger left two sons, Basil the Second and Constantine 
the Ninth, and two daughters, Theophano and Anne. The 

* Three years and five months. Leo Diaconus in Niebuhr. Byz. Hist. p. 
30.— M. 



216 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

eldest sister was given to Otho the Second, emperor of the 
West : the younger became the wife of Wolodomir, great 
duke and aj Jostle of Russia, and, by the marriage of her 
granddaughter with Henry the First, king of France, the 
blood of the Macedonians, and perhaps of the Arsacides, st'ill 
flows in the veins of the Bourbon line. After the death of 
her husband, the empress aspired to reign in the name of 
her so is, the elder of whom was five, and the younger only 
two, years of age ; but she soon felt the instability of a 
throne which was supported by a female who could not be 
esteemed, and two infants who could not be feared. Thc- 
ophano looked around for a protector, and threw herself into 
the arms of the bravest soldier; her heart was capacious; 
but the deformity of the new favorite rendered it more than 
probable that interest was the motive and excuse of her 
love. Nicephorus Phocas united, in the popular opinion, 
the double merit of a hero and a saint. In the former char- 
acter, his qualifications were genuine and splendid : the de- 
scendant of a race illustrious by their military exploits, he 
had displayed in every station and in every province the 
courage of a soldier and the conduct of a chief; and Ni- 
cephorus was crowned with recent laurels, from the impor- 
tant conquest of the Isle of Crete. His religion was of a 
more ambiguous cast; and his hair-cloth, his fasts, his pious 
idiom, and his wish to retire from the business of the world, 
were a convenient mask for his dark and dangerous ambi- 
tion. Yet he imposed on a holy patriarch, by whose influ- 
ence, and by a decree of the senate, he was intrusted during 
the minority of the young princes, with the absolute and 
independent command of the Oriental armies. As soon 
as he had secured the leaders and the tr.oops, he boldly 
marched to Constantinople, trampled on his enemies, 
avowed Ins correspondence with the empress, and without 
de^radim* her sons, assumed, w T ith the title of Augustus, the 
preeminence of rank and the plenitude of power. But his 
marriage with Theophano was refused by the same patri- 
arch who had placed the crown on his head : by his second 
nuptials he incurred a year of canonical penanee ; # a bar of 
spiritual affinity was opposed to their celebration ; and some 
evasion and perjury were required to silence the scruples of 
the ciergy and people. The popularity of the emperor was 
losw in the purple * in a reign of six years he provoked the 

* me canonical oojection to tne marriage was his relation ot Godfather to her 
•ons Leo Diac. p. 50.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 



217 



hatred of strangers and subjects : and the hypocrisy and 
avarice of the first Nicephorus were revived in his succes- 
sor. Hypocrisy I shall never justify or palliate ; but I will 
dare to observe, that the odious vice of avarice is of all 
others most hastily arraigned, and most unmercifully con- 
demned. In a private citizen, our judgment seldom ex- 
pects an accurate scrutiny into his fortune and expense ; and 
in a steward of the public treasure, frugality is always a 
virtue, and the increase of taxes too often an indispensable 
duty. In the use of his patrimony, the generous temper of 
Nicephorus had been proved ; and the revenue was strictly 
applied to the service of the state : each spring the emperor 
marched in person against the Saracens ; and every Roman 
might compute the employment of his taxes in triumphs, 
conquests, and the security of the Eastern barrier.* 

Among the warriors who promoted his elevation, and 
served under his standard, a noble and valiant Armenian 
had deserved and obtained the most eminent rewards. The 
stature of John Zimisces was below the ordinary standard ; 
but this diminutive body was endowed with strength, 
beauty, and the soul of a hero. By the jealousy of the 
emperor's brother, he was degraded from the office of gen- 
eral of the East, to that of director of the posts, and his 
murmurs were chastised with disgrace and exile. But Zim- 
isces was ranked among the numerous lovers of the em- 
press : on her intercession, he was permitted to reside at 
Chalcedon, in the neighborhood of the capital : her bounty 
was repaid in his clandestine and amorous visits to the pal- 
ace ; and Theophano consented, with alacrity, to the death 
of an ugly and penurious husband. Some bold and trusty 
conspirators were concealed in her most private chambers : 
in the darkness of a winter night, Zimisces, with his prin- 
cipal companions, embarked in a small boat, traversed the 
Bosphorus, landed at the palace stairs, and silently ascended 
? ladder of ropes, which was cast down by the female at- 
tendants. Neither his own suspicions, nor the warnings of 
his friends, nor the tardy aid of his brother Leo, nor the 
fortress which he had erected in the palace, could protect 
Nicephorus from a domestic foe, at whose voice every door 
was open to the assassins. As he. slept on a bear-skin on the 
ground, he was roused by their noisy intrusion, and thirty 
daggers glittered before his eyes. It is doubtful whether 

* He retook Antioch, and brought home as a trophy the sword of u the most 
unholy and impious Mahomet." Leo Diac. p. 76.— M. 



218 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Zimisces imbrued his hands in the blood of his sovereign; 
but he enjoyed the inhuman spectacle of revenge.* The 
murder was protracted by insult and cruelty : and as soon 
as the head of Nicephorus was shewn from the window, 
the tumult was hushed, and the Armenian was emperor of 
the East. On the day of his coronation, he was stopped on 
the threshold of St. Sophia, by the intrepid patriarch; who 
charged his conscience with the deed of treason and blood ; 
and required, as a sign of repentance, that he should sepa- 
rate himself from his more criminal associate. This sally 
of apostolic zeal was not offensive to the prince, since he 
could neither love nor trust a woman who had repeatedly 
violated the most sacred obligations; and Theophano, in- 
stead of sharing his imperial fortune, was dismissed with 
ignominy from his bed and palace. In their last interview, 
she displayed a frantic and impotent rage; accused the in- 
gratitude of her lover; assaulted, with words and blows, 
her son Basil, as he stood silent and submissive in the pres- 
ence of a superior colleague ; and avowed her own prosti- 
tution in proclaiming the illegitimacy of his birth. Th.e 
public indignation was appeased by her exile, and the pun- 
ishment of the meaner accomplices : the death of an un- 
popular prince was forgiven ; and the guilt of Zimisces was 
forgotten in the splendor of his virtues. Perhaps his pro- 
fusion was less useful to the state than the avarice of Ni- 
cephorus ; but his gentle and generous behavior delighted 
all who approached his person ; and it was only in the paths 
of victory that he trod in the footsteps of his predecessor. 
The greatest part of his reign was employed in the camp 
and the field his personal valor and activity were signal- 
ized on the Danube and the Tigris, the ancient boundaries 
of the Roman world; and by his double triumph over the 
Russians and Saracens, he deserved the titles of savior of 
the empire, and conqueror of the East. In his last re- 
turn from Syria, he observed that the most fruitful lands of 
his new provinces were possessed by the eunuchs. " And 
is it for them," he exclaimed, with honest indignation, 
" that we have fought and conquered ? Is it for them that 
we shed our blood, and exhaust the treasures of our peo- 
ple?" The complaint was reechoed to the palace, and the 

* According to Leo Diaconus, Zimisces, after ordering the wounded emperor 
to be dragged to his feet, and heaping him with insult, to which the miserable 
man only replied by invoking the name of the " mother of God," with his own 
hand plucked his beard, while his accomplices beat out his teeth with the hilts 
of their swords, and then trampling him to the ground, drove his sword into his 
Skull. Leo Diac. in Niebuhr. Ryz,. Hist. 1. vii. e. 8, p. £8.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 219 

death of Zimisces is strongly marked with the suspicion of 
poison. 

Under this usurpation, or regency, of twelve years, the 
two lawful emperors, Basil and Constant in e, had silently 
grown to the age of manhood. Their tender years had 
been incapable of dominion : the respectful modesty of 
their attendance and salutation was due to the age and 
merit of their guardians; the childless ambition of those 
guardians had no temptation to violate their right of suc- 
cession : their patrimony was ably and faithfully adminis- 
tered ; and the premature death of Zimisces was a loss, 
rather than a benefit, to the sons of Romanus. Their want 
of experience detained them twelve years longer the ob- 
scure and voluntary pupils of a minister, who extended his 
reign by persuading them to indulge the pleasures of youth, 
and to disdain the labors of government. In this silken 
web, the weakness of Constantine was forever entangled ; 
but his elder brother felt the impulse of genius and the de- 
sire of action ; he frowned, and the minister was no more. 
Basil was the acknowledged sovereign of Constantinople 
and the provinces of Europe ; but Asia was oppressed by 
two veteran generals, Phocas and Sclerus, who, alternately 
friends and enemies, subjects and rebels, maintained their 
independence, and labored to emulate the example of suc- 
cessful usurpation. Against these domestic enemies the 
son of Romanus first drew his sword, and they trembled in 
the presence of a lawful and high-spirited prince. The 
first, in the front of battle, was thrown from his horse, by 
the stroke of poison, or an arrow ; the second, who had 
been twice loaded with chains,* and twice invested with 
the purple, was desirous of ending in peace the small re- 
mainder of his days. As the aged suppliant approached 
the throne, with dim eyes and faltering steps, leaning on 
his two attendants, the emperor exclaimed, in the insolence 
of youth and power, " And is this the man who has so long 
been the object of our terror?" After he had confirmed 
his own authority, and the peace of the empire, the trophies 
of Nicephorus and Zimisces would not suffer their royal 
pupil to sleep in the palace. His long and frequent expedi- 
tions against the Saracens were rather glorious than useful 
to the empire ; but the final destruction of the kingdom of 
Bulgaria appears, since the time of Belisarius, the most im- 

* Once by the caliph, once by his rival Phocas. Compare Le Beau, 1. xiv. p. 
176.— M. 



220 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

portant triumph of the Roman arms. Yet, instead of ap- 
plauding their victorious prince, his suhjccts detested the 
rapacious and rigid avarice of Basil ; and in the imperfect 
narrative of his exploits, we can only discern the courage, 
patience, and ferociousness of a soldier. A vicious educa- 
tion, which could not subdue his spirit, had clouded his 
mind ; he was ignorant of every science ; and the remem- 
brance of his learned and feeble crandsire mic;ht encourage 
his real or affected contempt of laws and lawyers, of artists 
and arts. Of such a character, in such an age, superstition 
took a firm and lasting possession ; after the first license of 
his youth, Basil the Second devoted his life, in the palace 
and the camp, to the penance of a hermit, wore the monas- 
tic habit under his robes and armor, observed a vow of con- 
tinence, and imposed on his appetites a perpetual absti- 
nence from wine and flesh. In the sixty-eighth year of his 
age, his martial spirit urged him to embark in person for a 
holy war against the Saracens of Sicily ; he was prevented 
by death, and Basil, surnamed the Slayer of the Bulgarians, 
was dismissed from the world with the blessings of the 
clergy and the curses of the people. After his decease, his 
brother Constantine enjoyed, about three years, the power, 
or rather the pleasures, of royalty ; and his only care was 
the settlement of the succession. He had enjoyed sixty-six 
years the title of Augustus ; and the reign of the two 
brothers is the longest, and most obscure, of the Byzantine 
history. 

A lineal succession of five emperors, in a period of one 
hundred and sixty years, had attached the loyalty of 
the Greeks to the Macedonian dynasty, which had been 
thrice respected by the usurpers of their power. After the 
death of Constantine the Ninth, the last male of the royal 
race, a new and broken scene presents itself, and the accu- 
mulated years of twelve emperors do not equal the space 
of his single reign. His elder brother had preferred his 
private chastity to the public interest, and Constantine 
himself had only three daughters ; Eudocia, who took the 
veil, and Zoe and Theodora, who were preserved till a 
mature age in a state of ignorance and virginity. When 
their marriage was discussed in the council of their dying 
father, the cold or pious Theodora refused to give an heir 
to the empire, but her sister Zoe presented herself a willing 
victim at the altar. Komanus Argyrus, a patrician of a 
graceful person and fair reputation, was chosen for her hus- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 221 

band, and, on his declining that honor, was informed, that 
blindness or death was the second alternative. The mo- 
tive of his reluctance was conjugal affection, but his faith- 
ful wife sacrificed her own happiness to his safety and 
greatness ; and her entrance into a monastery removed the 
only bar to the Imperial nuptials. After the decease of 
Constantine, the sceptre devolved to Romanus the Third ; 
but his labors at home and abroad were equally feeble and 
fruitless ; and the mature age, the forty-eight years of Zoe, 
were less favorable to the hopes of pregnancy than to the 
indulgence of pleasure. Her favorite chamberlain was a 
handsome Paphlagonian of the name of Michael, whose 
first trade had been that of a money-changer; and Ro- 
manus, either from gratitude or equity, connived at their 
criminal intercourse, or accepted a slight assurance of their 
innocence. But Zoe soon justified the Roman maxim, that 
every adulteress is capable of poisoning her husband ; and 
the death of Romanus was instantly followed by the scan- 
dalous marriage and elevation of Michael the Fourth. 
The expectations of Zoe were, however, disappointed : in- 
stead of a vigorous and grateful lover, she had placed in 
her bed a miserable wretch, whose health and reason were 
impaired by epileptic fits, and whose conscience was tor- 
mented by despair and remorse. The most skilful phy- 
sicians of the mind and body were summoned to his aid ; 
and his hopes were amused by frequent pilgrimages to the 
baths, and to the tombs of the most popular saints; the 
monks applauded his penance, and, except restitution (but 
to whom should he have restored?), Michael sought every 
method of expiating his guilt. While he groaned and 
prayed in sackcloth and ashes, his brother, the eunuch John, 
smiled at his remorse, and enjoyed the harvest of a crime 
of which himself was the secret and most guilty author. 
His administration was only the art of satiating his avarice, 
and Zoe became a captive in the palace of her fathers and 
in the hands of her slaves. When he perceived the irre- 
trievable decline of his brother's health, he introduced his 
nephew, another Michael, who derived his surname of Cal- 
aphates from his father's occupation in the careening of 
vessels : at the command of the eunuch, Zoe adopted for 
her son the son of a mechanic ; and this fictitious heir was 
invested with the title and purple of the Caesars, in the 
presence of the senate and clergy. So feeble was the char- 
acter of Zoe, that she w r as oppressed by the liberty and 



222 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

power which she recovered by the death of the Paphlago- 
nian ; and at the end of four days, she placed the crown on 
the head of Michael the Fifth, who had protested with 
tears and oaths, that he should ever reign the first and most 
obedient of her subjects. The only act of his short reign 
was his base ingratitude to his benefactors, the eunuch and 
the empress. The disgrace of the former was pleasing to 
the public : but the murmurs, and at length the clamors, of 
Constantinople deplored the exile of Zoe, the daughter of 
so many emperors ; her vices were forgotten, and Michael 
was taught, that there is a period in which the patience of 
the tamest slaves rises into fury and revenge. The citizens 
of every degree assembled in a formidable tumult which 
lasted three days ; they besieged the palace, forced the 
gates, recalled their mothers, jLoq from her prison, Theo- 
dora from her monastery, and condemned the son of Cal- 
aphates to the loss of his eyes or of h s life. For the first 
time the Greeks beheld with surprise the tw r o royal sisters 
seated on the same throne, presiding in the senate, and giv- 
ing audience to the ambassadors of the nations. But this 
singular union subsisted no more than two months ; the two 
sovereigns, their tempers, interests, and adherents, were 
secretly hostile to each other ; and as Theodora was still 
averse to marriage, the indefatigable Zoe, at the age of 
sixty, consented, for the public good, to sustain the em- 
braces of a third husband, and the censures of the Greek 
church. His name and number w r ere Constantine the 
Tenth, and the epithet of 31onomachvs, the single com- 
batant, must have been expressive of his valor and victory 
in some public or private quarrel. But his health was 
broken by the tortures of the gout, and his dissolute re : gn 
was spent in the alternative of sickness and .pleasure. A 
fair and noble widow had accompanied Constantine in his 
exile to the Isle of Lesbos, and Sclerema gloried in the ap- 
pellation of his mistress. After his marriage and elevation, 
she was invested with the title and pomp of Avgvsta, and 
occupied a contiguous apartment in the palace. The law- 
ful consort (such was the delicacy or corruption of Zoe) 
consented to this strange and scandalous partition ; and the 
emperor appeared in public between his wife and his concu- 
bine. He survived them both ; but the last measures of 
Constantine to change the order of succession were pre- 
vented by the more vigilant friends of Theodora ; and after 
his decease, she resumed, with the general consent, the pos- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 223 

session of her inheritance. In her name, and by the influ- 
ence of four eunuchs, the Eastern world was peaceably 
governed about nineteen mouths; and as they w r ished to 
prolong their dominion, they persuaded the aged princess 
to nominate for her successor Michael the Sixth. The sur- 
name of Stratioticus declares his military profession ; but 
the crazy and decrepit veteran could only see with the eyes, 
and execute with the hands, of his ministers. Whilst he 
ascended the throne, Theodora sunk into the grave ; the 
last of the Macedonian or Basilian dynasty. I have 
hastily reviewed, and gladly dismiss, this shameful and de- 
structive period of twenty-eight years, in which the Greeks, 
degraded below the common level of servitude, were trans- 
ferred like a herd of cattle by the choice or op 'ice of two 
impotent females. 

From this night of slavery, a ray of freedom, or at least 
of spirit^ begins to emerge : the Greeks either preserved or 
revived the use of surnames, which perpetuate the fame of 
hereditary virtue : and we now discern the rise, succession, 
and alliances of the last dynasties of Constantinople and 
Trebizond. The Co?nneni, who upheld for a while the fate 
of the sinking empire, assumed the honor of a Roman 
origin : but the family had been long since transported from 
Italy to Asia. Their patrimonial estate was situate in the 
district of Castamona, in the neighborhood of the Euxine ; 
and one of their chiefs, who had already entered the paths 
of ambition, revisited with affection, perhaps with regret, 
the modest though honorable dwelling of his fathers. The 
first of their line was the illustrious Manuel, who in the 
reign of the second Basil, contributed b t v war and treaty to 
appease the troubles of the East : he left, in a tender age, 
two sons, Isaac and John, whom, with the consciousness of 
desert, he bequeathed to the gratitude and favor of his sov- 
ereign. The noble youths were carefully trained in the 
learning of the monastery, the arts of the palace, and the 
exercises of the camp : and from the domestic service of the 
guards, they were rapidly promoted to the command of 
provinces and armies. Their fraternal union doubled the 
force and reputation of the Comneni, and their ancient no. 
bility was illustrated by the marriage of the two brothers, 
with a captive princess of Bulgaria, and the daughter of a 
patrician, who had obtained the name of Charon from the 
number of enemies whom he had sent to the infernal shades. 
The soldiers had served with reluctant loyalty a series of ef- 



224 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

feminate masters ; the elevation of Michael the Sixth was a 
personal insult to the more deserving generals ; and their 
discontent was inflamed by the parsimony of the emperor 
and the insolence of the eunuchs. They secretly assembled 
in the sanctuary of St. Sophia, and the votes of thy military 
synod would have been unanimous in favor of the old and 
valiant Catacalon, if the patriotism or modesty of the vet- 
eran had not suggested the importance of dirth as well as 
merit in the choice of a sovereign. Isaac Comnenus was ap- 
proved by general consent, and the associates separated 
without delay to meet in the plains of Phrygia at the head 
of their respective squadrons and detachments. The cause 
of Michael was defended in a single battle by the merce- 
naries of the Imperial guard, who were aliens to the public 
interest, and animated only by a principle of honor and 
gratitude. After their defeat, the fears of the emperor 
solicited a treaty, which was almost accepted by the moder- 
ation of the Comnenian. But the former was betrayed by 
his ambassadors, and the latter was prevented by his friends. 
The solitary Michael submitted to the voice of the people ; 
the patriarch annulled their oath of allegiance; and as he 
shaved the head of the royal monk, congratulated his bene- 
ficial exchange of temporal royalty for the kingdom of 
heaven ; an exchange, however, which the priest, on his own 
account, would probably have declined. By the hands of 
the same patriarch, Isaac Comnenus was solemnly crowned; 
the sword which he inscribed on his coins might be an offen- 
sive symbol, if it implied his title by conquest; but this 
sword would have been drawn against the foreign and do- 
mestic enemies of the state. The decline of his health and 
vigor suspended the operation of active virtue; and the 
prospect of approaching death determined him to interpose 
some moments between life and eternity. But instead of 
leaving the empire as the marriage portion of his daughter, 
Ins reason and inclination concurred in the preference of 
his brother John, a soldier, a patriot, and the father of live 
sons, the future pillars of an hereditary succession. His 
first modest reluctance might be the natural dictates of dis- 
cretion and tenderness, but his obstinate and successful per- 
severance, however it may dazzle witli the show of virtue, 
must be censured as a criminal desertion of his duty, and a 
rare offence, against his family and country. The purple 
which he had refused was accepted by Constantine Ducas, 
a friend of the Comnenian house, and whose noble birth 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 225 

was adorned with the experience and reputation of civil 
policy. In the monastic habit, Isaac recovered his health, 
and survived two years his voluntary abdication. At the 
command of his abbot, he observed the rule of St. Basil, 
and executed the most servile offices of the convent: but 
Ins latent vanity was gratified by the frequent and respect- 
ful visits of the reigning monarch, who revered m his person 
the character of a benefactor and a saint. 

If Constantine the Eleventh were indeed the subject 
most worthy of Empire, we must pity the debasement of 
the age and nation in which he was chosen. In the labor 
of puerile declamations he sought, without obtaining, the 
crown of eloquence, more precious, in his opinion, than that 
of Rome ; and in the subordinate functions of a judge, he 
forgot the duties of a sovereign and a warrior. Far from 
imitating the patriotic indifference of the authors of his 
greatness, Ducas was anxious only to secure, at the expense 
of the republic, the power and prosperity of his children. 
His three sons, Michael the Seventh, Andronicus the First, 
and Constantine the Twelfth, were invested, in a tender age, 
with the equal title of Augustus ; and the succession was 
speedily opened by their father's death. His widow, Eu- 
tlocia, was intrusted with the administration ; but experi- 
ence had taught the jealousy of the dying monarch to pro- 
tect his sons from the danger of her second nuptials; and her 
solemn engagement, attested by the principal senators, was 
deposited in the hands of the patriarch. Before the end of 
seven months, the wants of Eudocia, or those of the state, 
called aloud for the male virtues ot a soldier; and her heart 
had already chosen Romanus Diogenes, whom she raised 
from the scaffold to the throne. The discovery of a trea- 
sonable attempt had exposed him to the severity of the 
laws : his beauty and valor absolved him in the eyes of the 
empress ; and Romanus, from a mild exile, was recalled on 
the second day to the command of the Oriental armies. 
Her royal choice was yet unknown to the public ; and the 
promise which would have betrayed her falsehood and levity, 
was stolen by a dexterous emissary from the ambition of 
the patriarch. Xiphilin at first alleged the sanctity of 
oaths and the sacred nature of a trust ; but a whisper, that 
his brother was the future emperor, relaxed his scruples, and 
forced him to confess that the public safety was the supreme 
law. He resigned the important paper ; and wheu his hopes 
were confounded by the nomination of Romanus, he could 
Vol. IV.— 15 



226 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

no longer regain his security, retract his declarations, nor 
oppose the second nuptials of the empress. Yet a murmur 
was heard in the palace ; and the Barbarian guards had 
raised their battle-axes in the cause of the house of Ducas, 
till the young princes were soothed by the tears of their 
mother and the solemn assurances of the fidelity of their 
guardian, who filled the Imperial station with dignity and 
honor. Hereafter I shall relate his valiant, but unsuccess- 
ful, efforts to resist the progress of the Turks, His defeat 
and captivity inflicted a deadly wound on the Byzantine mon- 
archy of the East ; and after he was released from the chains 
of the sultan, he vainly nought his wife and his subjects. 
His wife had been thrust n;to a monastery, and the subjects 
of Romanus had embraced the right maxim of the civil law, 
that a prisoner in the hands of the enemy is deprived, as by 
the stroke of death, of all the public and private rights of a 
citizen. In the general consternation, the Caesar John 
asserted the indefeasible right of his three nephews : Con- 
stantinople listened to his voice: and the Turkish captive 
was proclaimed in the capital, and received on the frontier, 
as an enemy of the republic. Romanus was not more for- 
tunate in domestic than in foreign war : the loss of two 
battles compelled him to yield, on the assurance of fair and 5 
honorable treatment ; but his enemies were devoid of faith 
or humanity ; and, after the cruel extinction of his sight, 
his wounds were left to bleed and corrupt, till in a few days 
he was relieved from a state of misery. Under the triple 
reign of the house of Ducas, the two younger brothers were 
reduced to the vain honors of the purple; but the eldest, 
the pusillanimous Michael, was incapable of sustaining the 
Roman sceptre ; and his surname of Parapinaces denotes 
the reproach which he shared with an avaricious favorite, 
who enhanced the price, and diminished the measure, of 
wheat. In the school of Psellus, and after the example of 
his mother, the son of Eudocia made some proficiency in 
philosophy and rhetoric ; but his character was degraded, 
rather than ennobled, by the virtues of a monk and the 
learning of a sophist. Strong in the contempt of their sov- 
ereign and their own esteem, two generals, at the head of 
the European and Asiatic legions, assumed the purple at 
Adrianople and Nice. Their revolt was in the same 
month; they bore the same name of Nicephorus: but the 
two candidates were distinguished by the surnames of Bry- 
ennius and Botaniates ; the former in the maturity of wis- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 227 

dom and courage, the latter conspicuous only by the mem- 
ory of his past exploits. While Botaniates advanced with 
cautious and dilatory steps, his active competitor stood in 
arms before the gates of Constantinople. The name of 
Bryennius was illustrious ; his cause was popular ; but his 
licentious troops could not be restrained from burning and 
pillaging a suburb ; and the people, who would have hailed 
the rebel, rejected and repulsed the incendiary of his coun- 
try. This change of the public opinion was favorable to 
Botaniates, who at length, with an army of Turks, ap- 
proached the shores of Chalcedon. A formal invitation, in 
the name of the patriarch, the synod, and the senate, was 
circulated through the streets of Constantinople ; and the 
general assembly, in the dome of St. Sophia, debated, with 
order and calmness, on the choice of their sovereign. The 
guards of Michael would have dispersed this unarmed multi- 
tude; but the feeble emperor, applauding his own modera- 
tion and clemency, resigned the ensigns of royalty, and was 
rewarded with the monastic habit, and the title of Arch- 
bishop of Ephesus. He left a son, a Constantine, born and 
educated in the purple ; and a daughter of the house of 
Ducas illustrated the blood, and confirmed the succession, of 
the Comnenian dynasty. 

John Comnenus, the brother of the emperor Isaac, sur- 
vived in peace and dignity his generous refusal of the 
sceptre. By his wife Anne, a woman of masculine spirit and 
policy, he left eight children : the three daughters multiplied 
the Comnenian alliance with the noblest of the Greeks : of 
the five sons, Manuel was stopped by a premature death ; 
Isaac and Alexius restored the imperial greatness of their 
house, which was enjoyed without toil or danger by the two 
younger brethren, Adrian and Nicephorus. Alexius, the 
third and most illustrious of the brothers, was endowed by 
nature with the choicest gifts both of mind and body ; they 
were cultivated by a liberal education, and exercised in the 
school of obedience and adversity. The youth was dismissd 
from the perils of the Turkish war, by the paternal care of 
the emperor Roman us : but the mother of the Comneni, with 
her aspiring race, was accused of treason, and banished, by 
the sons of Ducas, to an island in the Propontis. The two 
brothers soon emerged into favor and action, fought by each 
other's side against the rebels and Barbarians, and adhered 
to the emperor Michael, till he was deserted by the world 
and by himself. In his first interview 7 with Botaniates, 



228 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

"Prince," said Alexius, with a noble frankness, "my duty 
rendered me your enemy; the decrees of God and of the 
people have made me your subject. Judge of my future 
loyalty by my past opposition." The successor of Michael 
entertained him with esteem and confidence : his valor was 
employed against three rebels, who disturbed the peace of 
the empire, or at least of the emperors. Ursel, Bryennius, 
and Basilacius, were formidable by their numerous forces 
and military fame: they were successively vanquished in 
the field, and led in chains to the foot of the throne ; and 
whatever treatment they might receive from a timid and 
cruel court, they applauded the clemency, as well as the cour- 
age, of their conqueror. But the loyalty of the Comneni 
was soon tainted by fear and suspicion ; nor is it easy to 
settle between a subject and a despot, the debt of gratitude, 
which the former is tempted to claim by a revolt, and the 
latter to discharge bv an executioner. The refusal of Alex- 
ius to march against a fourth rebel, the husband of his sister, 
destroyed the merit or memory of his past services : the 
favorites of Botaniates provoked the ambition which they 
apprehended and accused ; and the retreat of the two 
brothers might be justified by the defence of their life and 
liberty. The women of the family were deposited in a 
sanctuary, respected by tyrants; the men, mounted on horse- 
back, sallied from the city, and erected the standard of civil 
w r ar. The soldiers who had been gradually assembled in 
the capital and the neighborhood, were devoted to the cause 
of a victorious and injured leader: the ties of common 
interest and domestic alliance secured the attachment of the 
house of Ducas ; and the generous dispute of the Comneni 
was terminated by the decisive resolution of Isaac, who was 
the first to invest his younger brother with the name and 
ensigns of royalty. They returned to Constantinople, to 
threaten rather than besiege that impregnable fortress ; but 
the fidelity of the guards was corrupted ; a gate was sur- 
prised, and the fleet was occupied by the active courage of 
George Palaeologus, who fought against his father, without 
foreseeing that he labored for his posterity. Alexius 
ascended the throne ; and his aged competitor disappeared 
in a monastery. An army of various nations was gratified 
with the .pillage of the city; but the public disorders were 
expiated by the tears and fasts of the Comneni, who sub- 
mitted to every penance compatible with the possession of 
the empire. 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 229 

The life of the emperor Alexius has been delineated by a 
favorite daughter, who was inspired by a tender regard for 
his person and a laudable zeal to perpetuate his virtues. 
Conscious of the just suspicions of her readers, the princess 
Anna Comnena repeatedly protests, that, besides her personal 
knowledge, she had searched the discourse and writings of 
the most respectable veterans : and after an interval of thirty 
years, forgotten by, and forgetful of, the world, her mourn- 
ful solitude Avas inaccessible to hope and fear ; and that 
truth, the naked perfect truth, was more dear and sacred 
than the memory of her parent. Yet, instead of the 
simplicity of style and narrative which wins our belief, an 
elaborate affectation of rhetoric and science betrays in every 
page the vanity of a female author. The genuine character 
of Alexius is lost in a vague constellation of virtues ; and 
the perpetual strain of panegyric and apology awakens our 
jealousy, to question the veracity of the historian and the 
merit of the hero. We cannot, however, refuse her judicious 
and important remark, that the disorders of the times were 
the misfortune and the glory of Alexius ; and that every 
calamity which can afflict a declining empire was accumulated 
on his reign by the justice of Heaven and the vices of his 
predecessors. In the East, the victorious Turks had spread, 
from Persia to the Hellespont, the reign of the Koran and 
the Crescent : the West was invaded by the adventurous 
valor of the Normans ; and, in the moments of peace, the 
Danube poured forth new swarms, who had gained, in the 
science of war, what they had lost in the ferociousness of 
manners. The sea was not less hostile than the land ; and 
while the frontiers were assaulted by an open enemy, the 
palace was distracted with secret treason and conspiracy. 
On a sudden, the banner of the Cross was displayed by the 
Latins ; Europe was precipitated on Asia ; and Constantinople 
had almost been swept away by this impetuous deluge. In 
the tempest, Alexius steered the Imperial vessel with dex- 
terity and courage. At the head of his armies, he was bold 
in action, skilful in stratagem, patient of fatigue, ready to 
improve his advantages, and rising from his defeats with 
inexhaustible vigor. The discipline of the camp was revived, 
and a new generation of men and soldiers was created by 
the example and precepts of their leader. In his intercourse 
with the Latins, Alexius was patient and artful : his dis- 
cerning eye pervaded the new system of an unknown world ; 
and I shall hereafter describe the superior policy with which 



230 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

he balanced the interests and passions of the champions of 
the first crusade. In a long reign of thirty-seven years he 
subdued and pardoned the envy of his equals : the laws of 
public and private order Avere restored : the arts of wealth 
and science were cultivated: the limits of the-empire were 
enlarged in Europe and Asia; and the Comnenian sceptre 
was transmitted to his children of the third and fourth gen- 
eration. Yet the difficulties of the times betrayed some 
defects in his character ; and have exposed his memory to 
some just or ungenerous reproach. The reader may possibly 
smile at the lavish praise which his daughter so often bestows 
on a flying hero : the weakness or prudence of his situation 
might be mistaken for a want of personal courage ; and his 
political arts are branded by the Latins with the names of 
deceit and dissimulation. The increase of the male and 
female branches of his family adorned the throne, and secured 
the succession ; but their princely luxury and pride offended 
the patricians, exhausted the revenue, and insulted the misery 
of the people. Anna is a faithful witness that his happiness 
was destroyed, and his health was broken, by the cares of a 
public life : the patience of Constantinople was fatigued by 
the length and severity of his reign; and before Alexius 
expired, he had lost the love and reverence of his subjects. 
The clergy could not forgive his application of the sacred 
riches to the defence of the state ; but they applauded his 
theological learning and ardent zeal for the orthodox faith, 
which he defended with his tongue, his pen, and his sword. 
His character was degraded by the superstition of the 
Greeks ; and the same inconsistent principle of human nature 
enjoined the emperor to found a hospital for the poor and 
infirm, and to direct the execution of a heretic, who was 
burnt alive in the square of St. Sophia. Even the sincerity 
of his moral and religious virtues was suspected by the per- 
sons who had passed their lives in his familiar confidence. 
In his last hours, when he was pressed by his wife Irene to 
alter the succession, he raised his head, and breathed a pious 
ejaculation on the vanity of this world. The indignant 
reply of the empress may be inscribed as an epitaph on his 
tomb, "You die, as you have lived — a hypocrite!" 

It was the wish of Irene to supplant the eldest of her 
surviving sons, in favor of her daughter the princess Anna, 
whose philosophy would not have refused the weight of a 
diadem. But the order of male succession was asserted by 
the friends of their country ; the lawful heir drew the royal 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 231 

signet from the finger of his insensible or conscious father, 
and the empire obeyed the master of the palace. Anna 
Coranena was stimulated by ambition and revenge to con- 
spire against the life of her brother, and when the design 
was prevented by the fears or scruples of her husband, she 
jjassionately exclaimed, that nature had mistaken the two 
sexes, and had endowed Bryennius with the soul of a wo- 
man. The two sons of Alexius, John and Isaac, maintained 
the fraternal concord, the hereditary virtue of their race, 
and the younger brother was content with the title of jSe- 
bastocrator, which approached the dignity, without sharing 
the power, of the emperor. In the same person the claims 
of primogeniture and merit were fortunately united ; his 
swarthy complexion, harsh features, and diminutive stature, 
had suggested the ironical surname of Calo-Johannes, or 
John the Handsome, which his grateful subjects more 
seriously applied to the beauties of his mind. After the 
discovery of her treason, the life and fortune of Anna w 7 ere 
justly forfeited to the laws. Her life was spared by the 
clemency of the emperor ; but he visited the pomp and 
treasures of her palace, and bestowed the rich confiscation 
on the most deserving of his friends. That respectable 
friend, Axuch, a slave of Turkish extraction, presumed to 
decline the gift, and to intercede for the criminal : his gen- 
erous master applauded and imitated the virtue of his 
favorite, and the reproach or complaint of an injured 
brother was the only chastisement of the guilty princess. 
After this example of clemency, the remainder of his reign 
was never disturbed by conspiracy or rebellion : feared by 
his nobles, beloved by his people, John was never reduced 
to the painful necessity of punishing, or even of pardoning, 
his personal enemies. During his government of twenty- 
five years, the penalty of death was abolished in the Roman 
empire, a law of mercy most delightful to the humane 
theorist, but of which the practice, in a large and vicious 
community, is seldom consistent with the public safety. 
Severe to himself, indulgent to others, chaste, frugal, ab- 
stemious, the philosophic Marcus would not have disdained 
the artless virtues of his successor, derived from his heart, 
and not borrowed from the schools. He despised and mod- 
erated the stately magnificence of the Byzantine court, so 
oppressive to the people, so contemptible to the eye of 
reason. Under such a prince, innocence had nothing to fear, 
and merit had everything to hope ; and, without assuming 



232 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the tyrannic office of a censor, he introduced a gradual 
though visible reformation in the public and private manners 
of Constantinople. The only defect of this accomplished char- 
acter was the frailty of noble minds, the love of arms and 
military glory. Yet the frequent expeditions of John the 
Handsome may be justified, at least in their principle, by 
the necessity of repelling the Turks from the Hellespont 
and the Bosphorus. The sultan of Iconium was confined 
to his capital, the Barbarians were driven to the mountnins, 
and the maritime provinces of Asia enjoyed the transient 
blessings of their deliverance. From Constantinople to 
Antioch and Aleppo, he repeatedly marched at the head of 
a victorious army, and in the sieges and battles of this holy 
war, his Latin allies were astonished by the superior spirit 
and prowess of a Greek. As he began to indulge the am- 
bitious hope of restoring the ancient limits of the empire, 
as he revolved in his mind, the Euphrates and Tigris, the 
dominion of Syria, and the conquest of Jerusalem, the 
thread of his life and of the public felicity was broken by a 
singular accident. Pie hunted the wild boar in the valley of 
Anazarbus, and had fixed his javelin. in the body of the 
furious animal ; but in the struggle a poisoned arrow dropped 
from his quiver, and a slight wound in his hand, which pro- 
duced a mortification, was fatal to the best and greatest of 
the Comnenian princes. 

A premature death had swept away the two eldest sons 
of John the Handsome ; of the two survivors, Isaac and 
Manuel, his judgment or affection preferred the younger; 
and the choice of their dying prince was ratified by the 
soldiers, who had applauded the valor of his favorite in the 
Turkish war. The faithful Axuch hastened to the capitrl, 
secured the person of Isaac in honorable confinement, and 
purchased, with a gift of two hundred pounds of silver, the 
leading ecclesiastics of - St. Sophia, who possessed a decisive 
voice in the consecration of an emperor. With his veteran 
and affectionate troops, Manuel soon visited Constantinople ; 
his brother acquiesced in the title of Sebastocrator ; his 
subjects admired the lofty stature and martial graces of 
their new sovereign, and listened with credulity to the 
flattering promise, that he blended the wisdom of age with 
the activity and vigor of youth. By the experience of his 
government, they were taught, that he emulated the spirit, 
and shared the talents, of his father, whose social virtues 
were buried in the grave. A reign of thirty-seven years is 



OF THE KOMAN EMPIRE. 238 

filled by a perpetual though various warfare against the 
Turks, the Christians, and the hordes of the wilderness be- 
yond the Danube. The arms of Manuel were exercised on 
Mount Taurus, in- the plains of Hungary, on the coast of 
Italy and Egypt, and on the seas of Sicily and Greece : the 
influence of his negotiations extended from Jerusalem to 
Rome and Russia ; and the Byzantine monarchy, for a 
while, became an object of respect or terror to the powers 
of Asia and Europe. Educated in the silk and purple of the 
East, Manuel possessed the iron temper of a soldier, which 
cannot easily be paralleled, except in the lives of Richard 
the First of England, and of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden. 
Such was his strength and exercise in arms, that Raymond, 
surnamed the Hercules of Antioch, was mcapable'of wield- 
ing the lance and buckler of the Greek emperor. In a 
famous tournament, he entered the lists on a hery courser, 
and overturned m his first career two of the stoutest of the 
Italian knights. The first in the charge, the last in the re- 
treat, his friends and his enemies alike trembled, the former 
for his safety, and the latter for their own. After posting 
an ambuscade in a wood, he rode forward in search of 
some perilous adventure, accompanied only by his brother 
and the faithful Axuch, who refused to desert their sover- 
eign. Eighteen horsemen, after a short combat, fled before 
them : but the numbers of the enemy increased ; the march 
of the rcenforcement was tardy and fearful, and Manuel, 
without receiving a wound, cut his way through a squadron 
of five hundred Turks. In a battle against the Hungarians, 
impatient of the slowness of his troops, he snatched a 
standard from the head of the column, and was the first, 
almost alone, who passed a bridge that separated him from 
the enemy. In the same country, after transporting his 
army beyond the Save, he sent back the boats, with an or- 
der, under pain of death, to their commander, that he should 
leave him to conquer or die on that hostile land. In the 
siege of Corfu, towing after him a captive galley, the em- 
peror stood aloft on the poop, opposing against the volleys 
of darts and stones, a large buckler and a flowing sail ; nor 
could he have escaped inevitable death, had not the Sicilian 
admiral enjoined his archers to respect the person of a hero. 
In one day, he is said to have slain above forty of the Bar- 
barians with his own hand : he returned to the camp, drag- 
ging along four Turkish prisoners, whom he had tied to the 
rings of his saddle ; he Avas ever the foremost to provoke or 



234 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

to accept a single combat ; and the gigantic champions, 
who encountered his arm, were transpierced by the lance, 
or cut asunder by the sword, of the invincible Manuel. The 
story of his exploits, which appear as a model or a copy of 
the romances of chivalry, may induce a reasonable susj cion 
of the veracity of the Greeks: I will not, to vindicate their 
credit, endanger my own : yet I may observe, that, in the 
long series of their annals, Manuel is the only prince who 
has been the subject of similar exaggeration. With the 
valor of a soldier, he did not unite the skill or prudence of 
a general; his victories were not productive of any per- 
manent or useful conquest ; and his Turkish laurels were 
blasted in his last unfortunate campaign, in which he lost 
his army in the mountains of Pisidia, and owed his deliver- 
ance to the generosity of the sultan. But the most singu- 
lar feature in the character of Manuel, is the contrast and 
vicissitude of labor and sloth, of hardiness and effeminacy. 
In war he seemed ignorant of peace, in peace he appeared 
incapable of war. in the field he slept in the sun or in the 
snow, tired in the longest marches the strength of his men 
and horses, and shared with a smile the abstinence or diet of 
the camp. No sooner did he return to Constantinople, than 
he resigned himself to the arts and pleasures of a life of 
luxury : the expense of his dress, his table, and his palace, 
surpassed the measure of his predecessors, and whole sum- 
mer days were idly wasted in the delicious isles of the Pro- 
pontis, in the incestuous love of his niece Theodora. The 
double cost of a warlike and dissolute prince exhausted the 
revenue, and multiplied the taxes; and Manuel, in the dis- 
tress of his last Turkish campaign, endured a bitter reproach 
from the mouth of a desperate soldier. As he quenched 
his thirst, he complained that the w T ater of a fountain was 
mingled with Christian blood. " It is not the first time," 
exclaimed a voice from the crowd, M that you have drank, 
O emperor, the blood of your Christian subjects." Manuel 
Comnenus was twice married, to the virtuous Bertha or 
Irene of Germany, and to the beauteous Maria, a French or 
Latin princess of Antioch. The only daughter of his first 
wife, was destined for Bela, a Hungarian prince, who was 
educated at Constantinople under the name of Alexius ; and 
the consummation of their nuptials might have transferred 
the Roman sceptre to a race of free and warlike Barbarians. 
But as soon as Maria of Antioch had given a son and heir 
to the empire, the presumptive rights of Bela were abol- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 235 

ished, and he was deprived of his promised bride ; but the 
Hungarian prince resumed his name and the kingdom of his 
fathers, and displayed such virtues as might excite the 
regret and envy of the Greeks. The son of Maria was 
named Alexius ; and at the age of ten years he ascended 
the Byzantine throne, after his father's decease bad closed 
the glories of the Comnenian line. 

The fraternal concord of the two sons of the great Alex- 
ius had been sometimes clouded by an opposition of interest 
and passion. By ambition, Isaac the Sebastocrator was 
excited to flight and rebellion, from whence he was reclaimed 
by the firmness and clemency of John the Handsome. The 
errors of Isaac, the father of the emperors of Trebizond, 
were short and venial ; but John, the elder of his sons, re- 
nounced forever his religion. Provoked by a real or imag - 
nary insult of his uncle, he escaped from the Roman to the 
Turkish camp ; his apostasy was rewarded with the sultan's 
daughter, the title of Chelebi, or noble, ari the inheritance 
of a princely estate ; and in the fifteenth century, Mahomet 
the Second boasted of his Imperial descent from the Com- 
nenian family. Andronieus, the younger brother of John, 
son of Isaac, and grandson of Alexius Comnenus, is one of 
the most conspicuous characters of the age ; and his genuine 
adventures might form the subject of a very singular 
romance. To justify the choice of three ladies of royal 
birth, it is incumbent on me to observe, that their fortunate 
lover was cast in the best proportions of strength and beauty ; 
and that the want of the softer graces was supplied by a 
manly countenance, a lofty stature, athletic muscles, and 
cne air and deportment of a soldier. The preservation, in 
his old age, of health and vigor, was the reward of temper- 
ance and exercise. A piece of bread and a draught of water 
was often his sole and evening repast; and if he tasted 
of a wild boar or a stag, which he had roasted with his own 
hands, it was the well-earned fruit of a laborious chase. 
Dexterous in arms, he was ignorant of fear ; his persuasive 
eloquence could bend to every situation and character of 
life ; his style, though not his practice, was fashioned by the 
example of St. Paul ; and in every deed of mischief, he had 
a heart to resolve, ahead to contrive, and a hand to execute. 
In his youth, after the death of the emperor John, he fol- 
lowed the retreat of the Roman army; but, in the march 
through Asia Minor, design or accident tempted him to 
wander in the mountains : the hunter was encompassed by 



236 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the Turkish huntsmen, and he remained some time a reluc- 
tant or willing captive in the power of the sultan. His 
virtues and vices recommended him to the favor of his 
cousin : he shared the perils and the pleasures of Manuel ; 
and while the emperor lived in public incest with his niece 
Theodora, the affections of her sister Eudocia were seduced 
and enjoyed by Andronicus. Above the decencies* of her 
sex and rank, she gloried in the name of his concubine; and 
both the palace and the camp could witness that she slept, 
or watched, in the arms of her lover. She accompanied 
him to his military command of Cilicia, the first scene of 
his valor and imprudence. He pressed, with active ardor, 
the siege of Mopsuestia ; the day was employed in the bold- 
est attacks ; but the night was wasted in song and dance ; 
and a band of Greek comedians formed the choicest part of 
his retinue. Andronicus was surprised by the sally of a 
vigilant foe ; but, while his troops fled in disorder, his in- 
vincible lance transpierced the thickest ranks of the Arme- 
nians. On his return to the Imperial camp in Macedonia, 
he was received by Manuel with public smiles and a private 
reproof ; but the duchies of Naissus, Braniseba, and Castoria, 
were the reward or consolation of the unsuccessful general. 
Eudocia still attended his motions : at midnight, their tent 
was suddenly attacked by her angry brothers, impatient to 
expiate her infamy in his blood : his daring spirit refused 
her advice, and the disguise of a female habit; and, boldly 
starting from his couch, he drew his sword, and cut his way 
through the numerous assassins. It was here that he first 
betrayed his ingratitude and treachery; he engaged in a 
treasonable correspondence with the king of Hungary ancl 
the German emperor ; approached the royal tent at a suspi- 
cious hour with a drawn sword, and, under the mask of a 
Latin soldier, avowed an intention of revenge against a 
mortal foe ; and imprudently praised the fleetness of his 
horse as an instrument of flight and safety. The monarch 
dissembled his suspicions ; but, after the close of the cam- 
paign, Andronicus was arrested and strictly confined in a 
tower of the palace of Constantinople. 

In this prison he was left about twelve years : a most 
painful restraint, from which the thirst of action and pleas- 
ure perpetually urged him to escape. Alone and pensive, 
he perceived some broken bricks in a corner of the chamber, 
and gradually widened the passage, till he had explored a 
dark and forgotten recess. Into this hole he conveyed him- 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 237 

self, and the remains of his provisions, replacing the bricks 
in their former position, and erasing with care the footsteps 
of his retreat. At the hour of the customary visit, his guards 
were amazed by the silence and solitude of the prison, and 
reported, with shame and fear, his incomprehensible night. 
The gates of the palace and city were instantly shut; the 
strictest orders were despatched into the provinces, for the 
recovery of the fugitive ; and his wife, on the suspicion of 
a pious act, was basely imprisoned in the same tower. At 
the dead of night she beheld a spectre : she recognized her 
husband : they shared their provisions ; and a son was the 
fruit of these stolen interviews, which alleviated the tedious- 
ness of their confinement. In the custody of a woman, the 
vigilance of the keepers was insensibly relaxed; and the 
captive had accomplished his real escape, when lie was dis- 
covered, brought back to Constantinople, and loaded with a 
double chain. At length he found the moment, and the 
means, of his deliverance. A boy, his domestic servant, 
intoxicated the guards, and obtained in wax the impression 
of the keys. By the diligence of his friends, a similar key, 
with a bundle of ropes, was introduced into the prison, in the 
bottom of a hogshead. Andronicus employed, with industry 
and courage, the instruments of his safety, unlocked the 
doors, descended from the tower, concealed himself all day 
among the bushes, and scaled in the night the garden-wall 
of the palace. A boat was stationed for his reception : he 
visited his own house, embraced his children, cast away his 
chain, mounted a fleet horse, and directed his rapid course 
towards the banks of the Danube. At Anchialus in Thrace, 
an intrepid friend supplied him with horses and money: he 
passed the river, traversed with speed the desert of Mol- 
davia and the Carpathian hills, and had almost readied 
the town of Halicz, in Polish Russia, when he was inter- 
cepted by a party of Walachians, who resolved to convey 
their important captive to Constantinople. His presence of 
mind a^ain extricated him from his dano-er. Under the 
pretence of sickness, he dismounted in the night, and was 
allowed to step aside from the troop : he planted in the 
ground his long staff, clothed it with his cap and upper 
garment ; and, stealing into the wood, left a phantom to 
amuse, for some time, the eyes of the Walachians. From 
Halicz he was honorably conducted to Kiow, the residence 
of the great duke : the subtle Greek soon obtained the 
esteem and confidence of Ieroslaus ; his character could 



238 THE DECLINE AKD FALL 

assume the manners of every climate ; and the Barbarians 
applauded his strength and courage in the chase of the elks 
and bears of the forest. In this northern region ho de.^rved 
the forgiveness of Manuel, who solicited the Russian 
prince to join his arms in the invasion of Hungary. The 
influence of Andronicus achieved this important service : 
his private treaty was signed with a promise of fidelity on 
one side/and of oblivion on the other; and he marched, at 
the head of the Russian cavalry, from the Borysthenes to 
the Danube. In his resentment Manuel had ever sympa- 
thized with the martial and dissolute character of his 
cousin ; and his free pardon was sealed in the assault of Zem- 
lin, in which he was second, and second only, to the valor 
of the emperor. 

No sooner was the exile restored to freedom and his 
country, than his ambition revived, at first to his own, and 
at length to the public, misfortune. A daughter of Manuel 
was a feeble bar to the succession of the more deserving 
males of the Comnenian blood : her future marriage with 
the prince of Hungary was repugnant to the hop^s or prej- 
udices of the princes and nobles. But when an oath of 
allegiance was required to the presumptive heir, Andronicus 
alone asserted the honor of the Roman name, declined the 
unlawful en txa demerit, and boldlv protested against the 
adoption of a stranger. His patriotism was offensive to the 
emperor, but he spoke the sentiments of the people, and 
was removed from the royal presence by an honorable 
banishment, a second command of the Cilician frontier, with 
the absolute disposal of the revenues of Cyprus. In this 
station the Armenians again exercised his courage and ex- 
posed his negligence ; and the same rebel, who baffled all 
his operations, "was unhorsed, and almost slain by the vigor 
of his lance. But Andronicus soon discovered a more easy 
and pleasing conquest, the beautiful Philippa, sister of the 
empress Maria, and daughter of Raymond of Poitou, the 
Latin prince of Antioch. For her sake he deserted his 
station, and wasted the summer in balls and tournaments : 
to his love she sacrificed her innocence, her reputation, and 
the offer of an advantageous marriage. But the resent- 
ment of Manuel for this" domestic affront interrupted his 
pleasures : Andronicus left the indiscreet princes to weep 
and to repent ; and, with a band of desperate adventurers, 
undertook the pilgrimage of Jerusalem. His birth, his mar- 
tial renown, and professions of zeal, announced him as the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 239 

champion of the Cross : he soon captivated both the clergy 
and tlie king ; and the Greek prince was invested with the 
lordship of Berytus, on the coast of Phoenicia. In his neigh- 
borhood resided a young and handsome queen, of his own 
nation and family, great-granddaughter of the emperor 
Alexis, and widow of Baldwin the Third, king of Jerusalem. 
She visited and loved her kinsman. Theodora was the 
third victim of his amorous seduction; and her shame was 
more public and scandalous than that of her predecessors. 
The emperor still thirsted for revenge ; and his subjects and 
allies of the Syrian frontier were repeatedly pressed to seize 
the person, and put out the eyes, of the fugitive. In Pales- 
tine he was no longer safe; but the tender Theodora re- 
vealed his danger, and accompanied his night. The queen 
of Jerusalem was exposed to the East, his obsequious con- 
cubine ; and two illegitimate children were the living monu- 
ments of her weakness. Damascus was his first refuge ; 
and, in the character of the great Noureddin and his ser- 
vant Saladin, the superstitious Greek might learn to revere 
the virtues of the Mussulmans. As the friend of Noureddin 
he visited, most probably, Bagdad, and the courts of Persia; 
and, after a long circuit round the Caspian Sea and the 
mountains of Georgia, he finally settled among the Turks of 
Asia Minor, the hereditary enemies of his country. The 
sultan of Colonia afforded a hospitable retreat to Andronicus, 
his mistress, and his band of outlaws : the debt of gratitude 
was paid by frequent inroads in the Roman province of 
Trebizond ; and ho seldom returned without an ample har- 
vest of spoil and of Christian captives. In the story of his 
adventures, he was fond of comparing himself to David, who 
escaped, by a long exile, the snares of the wicked But the 
royal prophet (he presumed to add) was content to lurk on 
the borders of Judaea, to slay an Amalekite, and to threaten, 
in his miserable state, the life of the avaricious Nabal. The 
excursions of the Comneninn prince had a wider range ; and 
he had spread over the Eastern world the glory of his name 
and religion. By a sentence of the Greek church, the licen- 
tious rover had been separated from the faithful ; but even 
this excommunication may prove, that he never abjured the 
profession of Christianity. 

His vigilance had eluded or repelled the open and secret 
persecution of the emperor ; but lie was at length insnared 
by the captivity of his female companion, The governor of 
Trebizon.d succeeded in his attempt to surprise the person 



240 THIS DECLINE AND FALL 

of Theodora ; the queen of Jerusalem and her two children 
were sent to Constantinople, and their loss imbittered the 
tedious solitude of banishment. The fugitive implored and 
obtained a final pardon, with leave to throw himself at the 
feet of his sovereign, who was satisfied with the submission 
of his haughty spirit. Prostrate on the ground he deplored 
with tears and groans the guilt of his past rebellion ; nor 
would he presume to arise, unless some faithful subject 
would drag him to the foot of the throne, by an iron chain 
with which he had secretly encircled his neck. This extraor- 
dinary penance excited the wonder and pity of the assem- 
bly ; his sins were forgiven by the church and state ; but 
the just suspicion of Manuel fixed his residence at a distance 
from the court, at Oenoe, a town of Pontus, surrounded 
with rich vineyards, and situate on the coast of the Euxine. 
The death of Manuel, and the disorders of the minority, 
soon opened the fairest field to his ambition. The emperor 
was a boy of twelve or fourteen years of age, without vigor, 
or wisdom, or experience: his mother, the empress Mary, 
abandoned her person and government to a favorite of the 
Comnenian name ; and his sister, another Mary, whose hus- 
band, an Italian, was decorated with the title of Caesar, ex- 
cited a conspiracy, and at length an insurrection, against 
her odious step-mother. The provinces were forgotten, the 
capital was in flames, and a century of peace and order was 
overthrown in the vice and weakness of a few months. A 
civil war was kindled in Constantinople ; the two factions 
fought a bloody battle in the square of the palace, and the 
rebels sustained a regular siege in the cathedral of St. 
Sophia. The patriarch labored with honest zeal to heal the 
wounds of the republic, the most respectable patriots called 
aloud for a guardian and avenger, and every tongue repeated 
the praise of the talents and even the virtues of Andronicus. 
In his retirement, he affected to revolve the solemn duties 
of his oath: "If the safety or honor of the Imperial family 
be threatened, I will reveal and oppose the mischief to the 
utmost of my power." His correspondence with the patri- 
arch and patricians was seasoned with apt quotations from the 
Psalms of David and the epistles of St. Paul ; and he patiently 
waited till he was called to her deliverance by the voice of 
his country. In his march from Oenoe to Constantinople, his 
slender train insensibly swelled to a crowd and an army : 
his professions of religion and loyalty were mistaken for the 
language of his heart ; and the simplicity of a foreign dress, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 241 

which showed to advantage his majestic stature, displayed 
a lively image of his poverty and exile. All opposition sunk 
before him ; he reached the straits of the Thracian Bos- 
phorus ; the Byzantine navy sailed from the harbor to receive 
and transport the savior of the empire ; the torrent was 
loud and irresistible, and the insects who had basked in the 
sunshine of royal favor disappeared at the blast of the 
storm. It was the first care of Andronicus to occupy the 
palace, to salute the emperor, to confine his mother, to 
punish her minister, and to restore the public order and 
tranquillity. He then visited the sepulchre of Manuel : the 
spectators were ordered to stand aloof, but as lie bowed in 
the attitude of prayer, they heard, or thought they heard, a 
murmur of triumph or revenge : " I no longer fear thee, my 
old enemy, who hast driven me a vagabond to every climate 
of the earth. Thou art safely deposited under a seven-fold 
dome, from whence thou canst never arise till the signal of 
the last trumpet. It is now my turn, and speedily will I 
trample on thy ashes and thy posterity." From his subse- 
quent tyranny we may impute such feelings to the man and 
the moment ; but it is not extremely probable that he gave 
an articulate sound to his secret thoughts. In the first 
months of his administration, his designs were veiled by a 
fair semblance of hypocrisy, which could delude only the 
eyes of the multitude : the coronation of Alexius was per- 
formed with due solemnity, and his perfidious guardian, hold- 
ing in his hands the body and blood of Christ, most fer- 
vently declared that he lived, and was ready to die, for the 
service of his beloved pupil. But his numerous adherents 
were instructed to maintain, that the sinking empire must 
perish in the hands of a child, that the Romans could only 
be saved by a veteran prince, bold in arms, skilful in policy, 
and taught to reign by the long experience of fortune and 
mankind; and that it was the duty of every citizen to force 
the reluctant modesty of Andronicus to undertake the bur- 
den of the public care. The young emperor was himself 
constrained to join his voice to the general acclamation, and 
to solicit the association of a colleague, who instantly de- 
graded him from the supreme rank, secluded his person, and 
verified the rash declaration of the patriarch, that Alexius 
might be considered as dead, so soon as he was committed 
.to the custody of his guardian. But his death was preceded 
by the imprisonment and execution of his mother. After 
Llackening her reputation, and inflaming against her the 
Vol/IY.— 16 



242 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

passions of the multitude, the tyrant accused and tried the 
empress for a treasonable correspondence with the king of 
Hungary. His own son, a youth of honor and humanity, 
avowed his abhorrence of this flagitious act, and three of 
the judges had the merit of preferring their conscience to 
their safety : but the obsequious tribunal, without requiring 
any proof, or hearing any defence, condemned the widow 
of Manuel ; and her unfortunate son subscribed the sentence 
of her death. Maria was strangled, her corpse was buried 
in the sea, and her memory was wounded by the insult most 
offensive to female vanity, a false and ugly representation 
of her beauteous form. The fate of her son was not long 
deferred ; he was strangled with a bowstring ; and the 
tyrant, insensible to pity or remorse, after surveying the 
body of the innocent youth, struck it rudely with his foot : 
" Thy father," he cried, " was a knave y thy mother a whore, 
and thyself zfoolf" 

The Roman sceptre, the reward of his crimes, was held 
by Andronicus about three years and a half as the guardian 
or sovereign of the empire. His government exhibited a 
singular contrast of vice and virtue. When he listened to 
his passions, he was the scourge; when he consulted his 
reason, the father, of his people. In the exercise of private 
justice, he was equitable and rigorous : a shameful and per- 
nicious venality was abolished, and the offices were filled 
with the most deserving candidates, by a prince who had 
sense to choose, and severity to punish. He prohibited 
the inhuman practice of pillaging the goods and persons 
of shipwrecked mariners ; the provinces, so long the 
objects of oppression or neglect, revived in prosperity 
and plenty; and millions applauded the distant blessings 
of his reign, while he was cursed by the witnesses of his 
daily cruelties. The ancient proverb, That bloodthirsty 
is the man who returns from banishment to power, had 
been applied, with too much truth, to Marius and Tiberius ; 
and was now verified for the third time in the life of 
Andronicus. His memory was stored with a black list of 
the enemies and rivals, who had traduced his merit, op- 
posed his greatness, or insulted his misfortunes ; and the only 
comfort of his exile was the sacred hope and promise of re- 
venge. The necessary extinction of the young emperor and 
his mother imposed the fatal obligation of extirpating the 
friends, who hated, and might punish, the assassin ; and the 
repetition of murder rendered him less willing, and less 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 243 

able to forgive.* A horrid narrative of the victims whom 
he sacrificed by poison or the sword, by the sea or the flames, 
would be less expressive of his cruelty than the appellation 
of the halcyon days, which was applied to a rare and blood- 
less week of repose : the tyrant strove to transfer, on the 
laws and the judges, some portion of his guilt ; but the mask 
was fallen, and his subjects could no longer mistake the true 
author of their calamities. The noblest of the Greeks, more 
especially those who, by descent or alliance, might dispute 
the Comnenian inheritance, escaped from the monster's den : 
Nice or Prusa, Sicily or Cyprus, were their places of ref- 
uge ; and as their flight was already criminal, they aggra- 
vated their offence by an open revolt, and the Imperial title. 
Yet Andronicus resisted the daggers and swords of his most 
formidable enemies : Nice and Prusa were reduced and chas- 
tised : the Sicilians were content with the sack of Thessa- 
lonica; and the distance of Cyprus was not more propitious 
to the rebel than to the tyrant. His throne was subverted 
by a rival without merit, and a people without arms. Isaac 
Angelus, a descendant in the female line from the great 
Alexius, was marked as a victim by the prudence or super- 
stition of the emperor. f In a moment of despair, Angelus 
defended his life and liberty, slew the executioner, and fled 
to the church of St. Sophia. The sanctuary was insensibly 
filled with a curious and mournful crowd, who, in his fate, 
prognosticated their own. But their lamentations were soon 
turned to curses, and their curses to threats : they dared to 
ask, " Why do we fear? why do we obey ? We are many, 
and he is one : our patience is the only bond of our slavery. 
With the dawn of day the city burst into a general sedition, 
the prisons were thrown open, the coldest and most servile 
were roused to the defence of their country, and Isaac, the 
second of the name, was raised from the sanctuary to the 
throne. Unconscious of his danger, the tyrant was absent; 

* Fallmerayer (Gesehichte des Kaiserthums von Trapezunt. pp. 29, 33) has 
highly drawn the character of Andronicus. In his view the extermination of 
the Byzantine factions and dissolute nobility was part of a deep-laid and splen- 
did plan for the regeneration of the empire. It was necessary for the wise and 
benevolent schemes of (he father of his people to lop oil" those limbs which were 
infected with irremediable pestilence— 

" and with necessity, 
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds ! !" — 

Still the fall of And -onicus was a fatal blow to the Byzantine empire. — M. 

t According to Nicetas (p. 444), Andronicus despised the imbecile Isaac too 
much to fear him ; he was arrested by the officious zeal of Stephen, the instru- 
ment of the emperor's cruelties.— M. 



244 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

withdrawn from the toils of state, in the delicious islands of 
the Propontis. He had contracted an indecent marriage 
with Alice, or Agnes, daughter of Lewis the Seventh, of 
France, and relict of the unfortunate Alexius ; and his so- 
ciety, more suitable to his temper than to his age, was com- 
posed of a young wife and a favorite concubine. On the 
first alarm, he rushed to Constantinople, impatient for the 
blood of the guilty ; but lie was astonished by the silence of 
the palace, the tumult of the city, and the general desertion 
of mankind. Andronicus proclaimed a free pardon to his 
subjects ; they neither desired, nor would grant, forgiveness ; 
he offered to resign the crown to his son Manuel ; but the 
virtues of the son could not expiate his father's crimes. 
The sea was still open for his retreat ; but the news of the 
revolution had flown along the coast ; when fear had ceased, 
obedience was no more : the Imperial galley was pursued 
and taken by an armed brigantine ; and the tyrant was 
dragged to the presence of Isaac Angelas, loaded with fet- 
ters, and a long chain round his neck. His eloquence, and 
the tears of his female companions, pleaded in vain for his 
life ; but, instead of the decencies of a legal execution, the 
new monarch abandoned the criminal to the numerous suf- 
ferers, whom he had deprived of a father, a husband, or a 
friend. His teeth and hair, an eye and a hand, were torn 
from him, as a poor compensation for their loss ; and a short 
respite was allowed, that he might feel the bitterness of 
death. Astride on a camel, without any danger of a rescue, 
he was carried through the city, and the basest of the popu- 
lace rejoiced to trample on the fallen majesty of their prince. 
After a thousand blows and outrages, Andronicus was -hung 
by the feet, between two pillars, that supported the statues 
of a wolf and a sow ; and every hand that could reach the 
public enemy, inflicted on his body some mark of ingenious 
or brutal cruelty, till two friendly or furious Italians, plung- 
ing their swords into his body, released him from all human 
punishment. In this long and painful agony, " Lord, have 
mercy upon me!" and "Why will you bruise a broken 
reed ? " were the only words that escaped from his mouth. 
Our hatred for the tyrant is lost in pity for the man ; nor 
can we blame his pusillanimous resignation, since a Greek 
Christian was no longer master of his life. 

I have been tempted to expatiate on the extraordinary 
character and adventures of Andronicus; but I shall here 
terminate the series of the Greek emperors since the time of 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 4 245 

Heraclius. The branches that sprang from the Comnenian 
trunk had insensibly withered ; and the male line was con- 
tinued only in the posterity of Andronieus himself, who, in 
the public confusion, usurped the sovereignty of Trebizond, 
so obscure in history, and so famous in romance. A private 
citizen of Philadelphia, Constantine Angelus, had emerged 
to wealth and honors, by his marriage with a daughter of 
the emperor Alexius. His son Andronieus is conspicuous 
only by his cowardice. His grandson Isaac punished and 
succeeded the tyrant : but he was dethroned by his own 
vices, and the ambition of his brother; and their discord in- 
troduced the Latins to the conquest of Constantinople, the 
first great period in the fall of the Eastern empire. 

If we compute the number and duration of the reigns, it 
will be found, that a period of six hundred years is filled by 
sixty emperors, including in the Augustan list some female 
sovereigns ; and deducting some usurpers who were never 
acknowledged in the capital, and some princes who did not 
live to possess their inheritance. The average proportion 
will allow ten years for each emperor, far below the chrono- 
logical rule of Sir Isaac Newton, who, from the experience 
of more recent and regular monarchies, has defined about 
eighteen or twenty years as the term of an ordinary reign. 
The Byzantine empire was most tranquil and prosperous 
when it could acquiesce in hereditary succession : five dy- 
nasties, the Pleraclian, Isaurian, Amorian, Basilian, and 
Comnenian families, enjoyed and transmitted the royal patri- 
mony during their respective series of five, four, three, six 
and four generations ; several princes number the years of 
their reign with those of their infancy ; and Constantine the 
Seventh and his two grandsons occupy the space of an en- 
tire century. But in the intervals of the Byzantine dynas- 
ties, the succession is rapid and broken, and the name of a 
successful candidate is speedily erased by a more fortunate 
competitor. Many were the paths that led to the summit 
of royalty; the fabric of rebellion was overthrown bv the 
stroke of conspiracy or undermined by the silent arts of in- 
trigue ; the favorites of the soldiers or people, of the senate 
or clergy, of the women and eunuchs, were alternately 
clothed with the purple ; the means of their elevation were 
base, and their end was often contemptible or tragic. A 
being of the nature of man, endowed with the same faculties, 
but with a longer measure of existence, would cast down a 
smile of pity and contempt on the crimes and follies of hu- 



246 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

man ambition, so eager, in a narrow span, to grasp at a pre- 
carious and short lived enjoyment. It is thus that the ex- 
perience of history exalts and enlarges the horizon of our 
intellectual view. In a composition of some days, in a per- 
usal of some hours, six hundred years have rolled away, and 
the duration of a life or reign is contracted to a fleeting mo- 
ment ; the grave is ever beside the throne : the success of a 
criminal is almost instantly followed by the loss of his prize ; 
and our immortal reason survives and disdains the sixty 
phantoms of kings who have passed before our eyes, and 
faintly dwell on our remembrance. The observation that, 
in every age and climate, ambition has prevailed with the 
same commanding energy, may abate the surprise of a 
philosopher ; but while he condemns the vanity, he may 
search the motive, of this universal desire to obtain and 
hold the sceptre of dominion. To the greater part of the 
Byzantine series, we cannot reasonably ascribe the love of 
fame and of mankind. The virtue alone of John Comnenus 
was beneficent and pure : the most illustrious of the princes, 
who precede or follow that respectable name, have trod with 
some dexterity and vigor the crooked and bloody paths of a 
selfish policy : in scrutinizing the imperfect characters of 
Leo the Isaurian, Basil the First, and Alexius Comnenus, of 
Theophilus, the second Basil, and Manuel Comnenus, our 
esteem and censure are almost equally balanced ; and the re- 
mainder of the Imperial crown could only desire and expect 
to be fogotten by posterity. Was personal happiness the 
aim and object of their ambition ? I shall not descant on 
the vulgar topics of the misery of kings ; but I may surely 
observe, that their condition, of all others, is the most preg- 
nant with fear, and the least susceptible of hope. For these 
opposite passions, a larger scope was allowed in the revolu- 
tions of antiquity, than in the smooth and solid temper of 
the modern world, which cannot easily repeat either the 
triumph of Alexander or the fall of Darius. But the peculiar 
infelicity of the Byzantine princes exposed them to domestic 
perils, without affording any lively promise of foreign con- 
quest. From the pinnacle of greatness, Andronicus was 
precipitated by a death more cruel and shameful than that 
of the vilest malefactor ; but the most glorious of his prede- 
cessors had much more to dread from their subjects than to 
hope from their enemies. The army was licentious without 
spirit, the nation turbulent without freedom : the Barbarians 
of the East and West pressed on the monarchy, and the loss 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 247 

of the provinces was terminated by the final servitude of 
the capital. 

The entire series of Roman Emperors, from the first 
of the Caasars to the last of the Constantines, extends above 
fifteen hundred years : and the term of dominion, unbroken 
by foreign conquest, surpasses the measure of the ancient 
monarchies ; the Assyrians or Medes, the successors of Cyrus, 
or those of Alexander. 



248 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

INTRODUCTION, WORSHIP, AND PERSECUTION OF IMAGES. 

REVOLT OF ITALY AND ROME. TEMPORAL DOMINION OF 

THE POPES. CONQUEST OF ITALY BY THE FRANKS. 

ESTABLISHMENT OF IMAGES. CHARACTER AND CORONA- 
TION OF CHARLEMAGNE. RESTORATION AND DECAY OF 

THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE WEST. INDEPENDENCE OF 

ITALY. CONSTITUTION OF THE GERMANIC BODY. 

In the connection of the church and state, I have con- 
sidered the former as subservient only, and relative, to the 
latter; a salutary maxim, if in fact, as well as in narrative, 
it had ever been held sacred. The oriental philoophy of 
the Gnostics, the dark abyss of predestination and grace, 
and the strange transformation of the Euclwirist from the 
sign to the substance of Christ's body, 1 I have purposely 
abandoned to the curiosity of speculative divines. But I 
have reviewed, with diligence and pleasure, the objects of 
ecclesiastical history, by which the decline and fall of the 
Roman empire were materially affected, the propagation of 
Christianity, the constitution of the Catholic church, the 
ruin of Paganism, and the sects that arose from the myste- 
rious controversies concerning the Trinity and incarnation. 
At the head of this class, we may justly rank the worship of 
images, so fiercely disputed in the eight and ninth centu- 
ries ; since a question of popular superstition produced the 
revolt of Italy, the temporal power of the popes, and the 
restoration of the Roman empire in the West. 

The primitive Christians were possessed with an uncon- 
querable repugnance to the use and abuse of images ; and 
this aversion may be ascribed to their descent from the 
Jews, and their enmity to the Greeks. The Mosaic law had 
severely proscribed all representations of the Deity ; and 
that precept was firmly established in the principles and 
practice of the chosen people. The wit of the Christian 

1 The learned Selden has given the history of transubstantiation in a compre- 
hensive and pithy sentence : " This opinion is only rhetoric turned into logic 
his Works, vol. iii. p. 2073, in his Table-Talk). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 249 

apologists was pointed against the foolish idolaters, who 
bowed before the workmanship of their own hands ; the 
images of brass and marble, which, had they been endowed 
with sense and motion, should have started rather from the 
pedestal to adore the creative powers of the artist. 2 Pei- 
haps some recent and imperfect converts of the Gnostic 
tribe might crown the statues of Christ and St. Paul with 
the profane honors which they paid to those of Aristotle 
and Pythagoras; 3 but the public religion of the Catholics 
was uniformly simple and spiritual ; and the first notice of 
the use of pictures is in the censure of the council of Illibe- 
ris, three hundred years after the Christian sera. Under 
the successors of Constantine, in the peace and luxury of the 
triumphant church, the more prudent bishops condescended 
to indulge a visible superstition, for the benefit of the mul- 
titude, and, after the ruin of Paganism, they were no longer 
restrained by the apprehension of an odious parallel. The 
first introduction of a symbolic worship was in the venera- 
tion of the cross, and of relics. The saints and martyrs, 
whose intercession was implored, were seated on the right 
hand of God ; but the gracious and often supernatural fa- 
vors, which, in the popular belief, were showered round 
their tomb, conveyed an unquestionable sanction of the de- 
vout pilgrims, who visited, and touched, and kissed these 
lifeless remains, the memorials of their merits and suffer- 
ings. 4 But a memorial, more interesting than the skull or 
the sandals of a departed worthy, is the faithful copy of 
his person and features, delineated by the arts of painting 
or sculpture. In every age, such copies, so congenial to 
human feelings, have been cherished by the zeal of private 
friendship, or public esteem; the images of the Roman em- 
perors were adored with civil, and almost religious honors ; 
a reverence less ostentatious, but more sincere, was applied 
to the statues of sages and patriots; and these profane vir- 
tues, these splendid sins, disappeared in the presence of the 
holy men, who had died for their celestial and everlasting 
country. At first, the experiment was made with caution 

1 Nee intelligunt homines ineptissimi, quod si sentire simulacra et moveri 
possent, adoratura hominem fuissen' a quo sunt expolita. (Divin. Institut. 1. li. 
c- 2.) LaclantiuB is the last, as well as the most eloquent, of the Latin apolo- 
gists. Their raillery of idols attacks not only the object, but the form and 
matter. 

3 See Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Augustin (Basnage, Hist, des Eglises Refor- 
mees, torn. ii. p. 1313). This Gnostic practice has a singular atlinity with the 
private worship of Alexander Severus (Lampridius, c. 29. Lardner, Heathen 
Testimonies, vol. lii. p 34). 

* See this History, vol. ii. p. 171 ; vol. ii. p. 327 ; vol. ii. pp. 616-620. 



250 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

and scruple ; and the venerable pictures were discreetly al- 
lowed to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the cold, and to 
gratify the prejudices of the heathen proselytes. By a slow 
though inevitable progression, the honors of the original 
were transferred to the copy ; the devout Christian prayed 
before the image of a saint ; and the Pagan rites of genu- 
flection, luminaries, and incense, again stole into the Cath- 
olic church. The scruples of reason, or piety, were silenced 
by the strong evidence of visions and miracles; and the 
pictures which speak, and move, and bleed, must be en- 
dowed with a divine energy, and may be considered as the 
proper objects of religious adoration. The most audacious 
pencil might tremble in the rash attempt of defining, by 
forms and colors, the infinite Spirit, the eternal Father, who 
pervades and sustains the universe. 6 But the superstitious 
mind was more easily reconciled to paint and to worship 
the angels, and above all, the Son of God, under the human 
shape, which, on earth, they have condescended to assume. 
The second person of the Trinity had been ciothed with a 
real and mortal body ; but that body had ascended into 
heaven ; and, had not some similitude been presented to the 
eyes of his disciples, the spiritual worship ot Christ might 
have been obliterated by the visible relics and representa- 
tions of the saints. A similar indulgence was requisite and 
propitious for the Virgin Mary : the place of her burial was 
unknown ; and the assumption of her soul and body into 
heaven was adopted by the credulity of the Greeks and 
Latins. The use, and even the worship, of images was 
firmly established before the end of the sixth century ; they 
were fondly cherished by the warm imagination of the 
Greeks and Asiatics ; the Pantheon and Vatican were 
adorned with the emblems of a new superstition ; but this 
semblance of idolatry was more coldly entertained by the 
rude Barbarians and the Arian clergy of the West. The 
bolder forms of sculpture, in brass or marble, which peopled 
the temples of antiquity, were offensive to the fancy or con- 
science of the Christian Greeks : and a smooth surface of 
colors has ever been esteemed a more decent and harmless 
mode of imitation. 6 

8 Ov yap to ©etov ankovv vnapxov ko'i aXtiorov fiop(f>al<> Titrt *cai <r\rifJLa(n.v aireuea^oiitv, 
bvre /cTjpw *ai £uAoi? TJjr vnepovtriov Kal irooavapxov ot'iaiav Tifiay rj/xei? Sieyvtateafxtv. 
(Concilium Nicenum, ii. in Collect. Labb. torn. viii. p. 1025, edit. Venet.) II 
seroit peut-etre Apropos de ne point souffrir d'images de la Trinit6 ou de la 
Divinite ; les defenseurs les plus zeles des images ayant condamne celles-ci, etle 
concile de Trente ne parlant que des images de Jesus Christ et des Saints (Dupin, 
Bibliot. Eccles. torn. vi. p. 154). 

^ This general history of images is drawn from the xxiid book of the Hist, des 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 251 

The merit and effect of a copy depends on its resem- 
blance with the original ; but the primitive Christians were 
ignorant of the genuine features of the Son of God, his 
mother, and his apostles : the statue of Christ at Paneas in 
Palestine 7 was more probably that of some temporal savior ; 
the Gnostics and their profane monuments were reprobated ; 
and the fancy of the Christian artists could only be guided 
by the clandestine imitation of some heathen model. In 
this distress, a bold and dexterous invention assured at once 
the likeness of the image and the innocence of the worship. 
A new superstructure of fable was raised on the popular 
basis of a Syrian legend, on the correspondence of Christ 
and Abgarus, so famous in the days of Eusebius, so reluc- 
tantly deserted by our modern advocates. The bishop of 
Ca3sarea 8 records the epistle, 9 but he most strangely forgets 
the picture of Christ : 10 the perfect impression of his face 
on a linen, with which he gratified the faith of the royal 
stranger who had invoked his healing power, and offered 
the strong city of Edessa to protect him against the malice 
of the Jews. The ignorance of the primitive church is ex- 
plained by the long imprisonment of the image in a niche 
of -the wall, from whence, after an oblivion of five hundred 

Eglises Ref ormees of Basnage, torn. ii. pp. 1310-1337. He was a Protestant, but 
of a mamy spirit ; and on this head the Protestants are so notoriously in the 
right, that they can venture to be impartial. See the perplexity of poor Friar 
Pagi, Critica, torn. 1. p. 42. 

'After removing some rubbish of miracle and inconsistency, it may be 
allowed, that as late as the year 300, Paneas in Palestine was decorated with a 
bronze statue, representing a grave personage wiapped in a cloak, with a grate- 
ful or suppliant female kneeling Defore him, and that an inscription — t<J SooTrjpi, 
tu» tvepytTr)— was perhaps inscribed on the pedestal. By the Christians, this 
group was foolishly explained of their founder ana the poor w r oinan whom he 
had cured of the bloody rlux(Euseb. vii. 18, Philostorg- vii. 3, &c). M. de Beau- 
sobre more reasonably conjectures the philosopher Apollonius, or the emperor 
Vespasian : in the latter supposition, the female is a city, a province, or perhaps 
the queen Berenice (Bibliotheque Geimanique, torn. xiii. pp. 1-92). 

8 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. i. c. 13. The learned Assemannus has brought up the 
collateral aid of three Syrians, St. Ephrem, Josua Stylites, and James bishop ol 
Sarug , but 1 do not find any notice of the Syriac original or the archives of 
Edessa (Bibliot. Orient, torn. i. pp. 318, 420, 554) ; their vague belief is probably 
derived from the Greeks. 

;I The evidence for these epistles is stated and rejected by the candid Lardner 
(Heathen Testimonies, vol. i. pp. 297-309). Among the herd of bigots who are 
forcibly driven from this convenient, but untenable, post, 1 am ashamed, with 
the Grabes, Caves, Tillemonts, &c, to discover Mr. Addison, an English gentle- 
man (his Works, vol. i. p. 528, Baskerville's edition); but his superficial tract on 
the Christian religion owes its credit to his name, his style, and the interested 
applause of our clergy. 

10 From the silence of James of Sarug (Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, pp. 289, 318), 
and the testimony of Evagrius (Hist. Eccles. 1. iv. c. 27), I conclude that this 
fable was invented between the years 521 and 594, most probably after the siege 
of Edessa in 540 (Asseman. torn. i. p. 416. Procopius de Bell. Persic. 1. ii). It 
is the sword and buckler of Gregory II. (in Epist. i. ad. Leon. Isaur. Concil. torn, 
viii. pp. 656, 657), of John Damascenus (Opera, torn. i. p. 281, edit. Lequien), and 
of the second Nicene Council (Actio v. p. 1030). The most perfect edition may 
be found in Cedrenus (Compend. pp. 175-178). 



252 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

years, it was released by some prudent bishop, and season- 
ably presented to the devotion of the times. Its first and 
most glorious exploit was the deliverance of the city from 
the arms of Chosrocs Nushirvan; and it was soon revered 
as a pledge of the divine promise, that Edessa should never 
be taken by a foreign enemy. It is true, indeed, that the 
text of Procopius ascribes the double deliverance of Edessa 
to the wealth and valor of her citizens, who purchased the 
absence and repelled the assaults of the Persian monarch. 
He was ignorant, the profane historian, of the testimony 
which he is compelled to deliver in the ecclesiastical page of 
Evagrius, that the Palladium was exposed on the rampart, 
and that the water which had been sprinkled on the holy 
face, instead of quenching, added new fuel to the flames of 
the besieged. After this important service, the image of 
Edessa was preserved with respect and gratitude ; and if 
the Armenians rejected the legend, the more credulous 
Greeks adored the similitude, which was not the work of 
any mortal pencil, but the immediate creation of the divine 
original. The style and sentiments of a Byzantine hymn 
will declare how far their worship was removed from the 
grossest idolatry. "How can we with mortal eyes contem- 
plate this image, whose celestial splendor the host of heaven 
presumes not to behold? He who dwells in heaven, conde- 
scends this day to visit us by his venerable image ; He who 
is seated on the cherubim, visits us this day by a picture, 
which the Father has delineated with his immaculate hand, 
which he has formed in an ineffable manner, and which we 
sanctify by adoring it with fear and love." Before the end 
of the sixth century, these images, made vnthout hands (in 
Greek it is a single word, 11 ) were propagated in the camps 
and cities of the Eastern empire : u they were the objects of 
worship, and the instruments of miracles ; and in the hour 
of danger or tumult, their venerable presence could revive 
the hope, rekindle the courage, or repress the fury, of the 
Roman legions. Of these pictures, the far greater part, the 

11 'Axe<-ponoir)To<;. See Ducange, in Gloss. Graec. et Lat. The subject is treated 
with equal learning and bigotry by the Jesuit Gretser (Syntagma de Imaginibus 
ron Manu faetis, ad caleem Codini deOfficiis, pp. 2S9-330), the ass. or rather the 
fox, of Ingoldstadt (see the Sealigerana); with equal reason and wit by the Prot- 
estant Beausobre, in the ironical controversy which he has spread through 
many volumes of the Bibliotheque Germanique (torn, xviii. pp. 1 50, xx. pp. 27- 
68, x'xv. pp. 1-36. xxvii. pp. 85-118. xxviii. pp. 1-33, xxxi. pp. 111-148, xxxii. pp. 
75-107, xxxiv. pp. 67-96). 

12 Theophvlact Simocatta (1. ii. c. 3, p. 34,1. iii. c. 1, p. 63) celebrates the 
^edi'SpiKOf flxaafjia, which he styles axeipoTroirjToi' .• yet it wasuo more than a copy, 
Since he adds apxeTVirov to exetvov oi 'Pwfxaioi (of Edessa) ^pTjovcevoi'O-c Ti apprjTOV. 

See Pagi, torn. ii. A. D. 586, No. 11. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 2f3 

transcripts of a human pencil, could only pretend to a sec- 
ondary likeness and improper title : but there were some of 
higher descent, who derived their resemblance from an im- 
mediate contact with the original, endowed, for that pur- 
pose, with a miraculous 1 and prolific virtue. The most am- 
bitious aspired from a filial to a fraternal relation with the 
image of Edessa ; and such is the veronica of Rome, or 
Spain, or Jerusalem, which Christ in his agony and bloody 
sweat applied to his face, and delivered to a holy matron. 
The fruitful precedent Avas speedily transferred to the Vir-. 
gin Mary, and the saints and martyrs. In the church of 
Diospolis, in Palestine, the features of the Mother of God 13 
were deeply inscribed in a marble column ; the East and 
West have been decorated by the pencil of St. Luke ; and 
the Evangelist, who was perhaps a physician, has been 
forced to exercise the occupation of a painter, so profane 
and odious in the eyes of the primitive Christians. The 
Olympian Jove, created by the muse of Homer and the 
chisel of Phidias, might inspire a philosophic mind with 
momentary devotion ; but these Catholic images were faintly 
and flatly delineated by monkish artists in the last degener- 
acy of taste and genius. 14 

The worship of images had stolen into the church by in- 
sensible degrees, and each petty step Avas pleasing to the 
superstitious mind, as productive of comfort, and innocent 
of sin. But in the beginning of the eighth century, in the 
full magnitude of the abuse, the more timorous Greeks were 
awakened by an apprehension, that under the mask of Chris- 
tianity, they had restored the religion of their fathers ; they 
heard, with grief and impatience, the name of idolaters ; the 
incessant charge of the Jews and Mahometans, 15 who derived 
from the Law and the Koran an immortal hatred to graven 
images and all relative worship. The servitude of the Jews 
might curb their zeal, and depreciate their authority ; but 
the triumphant Mussulmans, who reigned at Damascus, and 
threatened Constantinople, cast into the scale of reproach 

13 See, in the genuine or supposed work? of John Damascenus, two passages 
on the Virgin and St. Luke, which have not been noticed by Gretser, nor con- 
sequently by Beausobre (Opera Job. Damascen. torn. i. pp. G18, G31). 

H " Your scandalous rigures stand quite out from the canvas : they are as bad 
as a group of statues !'' It was thus that the ignorance and bigotry of a Greek 
priest applauded the pictures of Titian, which he had ordered, and refused to 
accept. 

13 By Cedrenus, Zonaras, Glycas, and Manas^es, the origin of the Iconoclasts 
U imputed to the caliph Yezid and two Jews, who promised the empire to Leo; 
and the reproaches of these hostile sectaries are turned into an absurd conspiracy 
for restoring the purity of the Christian worship (see Spanheim, Hist. 1 mag. c. 2). 



254 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the accumulated weight of truth and victory. The cities of 
Syria, Palestine,- and Egypt had been fortified with the 
images of Christ, his mother, and his saints ; and each city 
presumed on the hope or promise of miraculous defence. 
In a rapid conquest of ten years, the Arabs subdued those 
cities and these images ; and, in their opinion, the Lord of 
Hosts pronounced a decisive judgment between the adoration 
and contempt of these mute and inanimate idols.* For a 
while Edessa had braved the Persian assaults ; but the 
chosen city, the spouse of Christ, was involved in the 
common ruin ; and his divine resemblance became the slave 
and trophy of the infidels. After a servitude of three 
hundred years, the Palladium was yielded to the devotion 
of Constantinople, for a ransom of twelve thousand pounds 
of silver, the redemption of two hundred Mussulmans, and a 
perpetual truce for the territory of Edessa. 16 In this season 
of distress and dismay, the eloquence of the monks was 
exercised in the defence of images ; and they attempted to 
prove that the sin and schism of the greatest part of the 
Orientals had forfeited the favor, and annihilated the virtue, 
of these precious symbols. But they were now opposed by 
the murmurs of many simple or rational Christians, who 
appealed to the evidence of texts, of facts, and of the 
primitive times, and secretly desired the reformation of the 
church. As the worship of images had never been established 
by any general or positive law, its progress in the Eastern 
empire had been retarded, or accelerated, by the differences 
of men and manners, the local degrees of refinement, and 
the personal characters of the bishops. The splendid 
devotion was fondly cherished by the levity of the capital, 
and the inventive genius of the Byzantine clergy ; while the 
rude and remote districts of Asia were strangers to this 
innovation of sacred luxury. Many large congregations of 
Gnostic and Arians maintained, after their conversion, the 
simple worship which had preceded their separation ; and 
the Armenians, the most warlike subjects of Rome, were 

15 See Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p. 267), Abulpharagius (Dynast, p 201), nrnd 
Abulfeda (Annal Moslem- p. 264), and ihe criticisms of Pagi (torn. iii. A. D. 944). 
The prudent, Franciscan refuses to determine whether the image of Edessa now 
repo es at Iiome or Genoa ; but its repose is inglorious, and this ancient object of 
worship is no longer famous or fashionable. 



* Yezid, ninth caliph of the race of the Ommiadae, caused all the images in 
Syria to be destroyed about the year 719 ; hence the orthodox reproacbed the 
sectarians with following the example of the Saracens and the Jews. Fragm. 
Mon. Johan Jerosylym. Script. Byzant. vol. xvi. p. 235. Hist, des Rcpub. ltal» 
par M. Sismondi, vol. i. p. 126.— G. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 255 

not reconciled, in the twelfth century, to the sight of 
images. 17 These various denominations of men afforded a 
fund of prejudice and aversion, of small account In the 
villages of Anatolia or Thrace, but which, in the fortune of 
a soldier, a prelate, or a eunuch, might be often connected 
with the powers of the church and state. 

Of such adventurers, the most fortunate was the emperor 
Leo the Third, 18 who, from the mountains of Isauria, ascended 
the throne of the East. He was ignorant of sacred and pro- 
fane letters; but his education, his reason, perhaps his in- 
tercourse with the Jews and Arabs, had inspired the martial 
peasant with a hatred of images ; and it was held to be the 
duty of a prince to impose on his subjects the dictates of 
his own conscience. But in the outset of an unsettled reign, 
during ten years of toil and danger, Leo submitted to the 
meanness of hypocrisy, bowed before the idols whieh he 
despised, and satisfied the Roman pontiff with the annual 
professions of his orthodoxy and zeal. In the reformation 
of religion, his first steps were moderate and cautious : he 
assembled a great council of senators and bishops, and 
enacted, with their consent, that all the images should be 
removed from the sanctuary and altar to a proper height in 
the churches, where they might be visible to the eyes, and 
inaccessible to the superstition, of the people. But it was 
impossible on either side to check the rapid though adverse 
impulse of veneration and abhorrence : in their lofty posi- 
tion, the sacred images still edified their votaries, and 
reproached the tyrant. He was himself provoked by resist- 
ance and invective ; and his own party accused him of an 
imperfect discharge of his duty, and urged for his imitation 
the example of the Jewish king who had broken without 
scruple the brazen serpent of the temple. By a second edict, 

17 "Apueviot? Kai "AAa/u.ai/o<? €7ri'orrj<; tj twv ayiutv eucrvwv npoaKvvrjcris annyopfcrTai 

(Nicetas, 1. ii. p. 25«) The Armenian churches are still content with the Cross 
(Missions du Levant, torn. iii. p. 148), hut surely the superstitious Greek is unjust 
to the superstition of the Germans of the xiith century. 

18 Our original, hut not impartial, monuments of the Iconoclasts must he 
drawn from the Acts of the Councils, torn. viii. and ix. Collect. Labbe, edit. 
Venet and the historical writings of Theophanes, Nicephoru6, Manasses, Cedre- 
iius, Zonaras. &c. Of the modern Catholics, Baronius, Pagi, Natalis Alexander 
(Hist. Eccles. Reculum viii. and ix.), and Maimbourg(Hist. des Iconoclasts), have 
treated the subject with learning, passion, and credulity. The Protestant labors 
of Frederick Spanheim (Historia Imaginum restituta) and James Basnage (Hist. 
des Eglises Reformees, toin. ii. 1. xxiii. pp. 1339-1385) are cast into the Iconoclast 
scale. With this mutual aid, and opposite tendency, it is easy for us to poise the 
balance with philosophic iudifference.* 



* Compare Schlosser. Geschichte der Bilder-stiirmender Kaiser, Frankfurt- 
» cm-Main, 1812 ; a book of research and impartiality.— M. 



256 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

he proscribed the existence as well as the use of religious 
pictures; the churches of Constantinople and the provinces 
were cleansed from idolatry ; the images of Christ, the Virgin, 
and the saints, were demolished, or a smooth surface of 
plaster was spread over the walls of the edifice. The sect 
of the Iconoclasts was supported by the zeal and despotism 
of six emperors, and the East and West were involved in a 
noisy conflict of one hundred and twenty years. It was the 
design of Leo the Isaurian to pronounce the condemnation 
of images as an article of faith, and by the authority of a 
general council : but the convocation of such an assembly 
was reserved for his son Constantme ; 19 and though it is 
stigmatized by triumphant bigotry as a meeting of fools and 
atheists, their own partial and mutilated acts betray many 
symptoms of reason and piety. The debates and decrees of 
many provincial synods introduced the summons of the 
general council which met in the suburbs of Constantinople, 
and was composed of the respectable number of three 
hundred and thirty-eight bishops of Europe and Anatolia ; 
for the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria were the slaves 
of the caliph, and the Roman pontiff had withdrawn the 
churches of Italy and the West from the communion of the 
Greeks, This Byzantine synod assumed the rank and powers 
of the seventh general council; yet even this title was a 
recognition of the six preceding assemblies, which had 
laboriously built the structure of the Catholic faith. After 
a serious deliberation of six months, the three hundred and 
thirty-eight bishops pronounced and subscribed a unanimous 
decree, that all visible symbols of Christ, except in the 
Eucharist, were either blasphemous or heretical ; that image- 
worship was a corruption of Christianity and a renewal of Pa- 
ganism ; that all such monuments of idolatry should be broken 
or erased ; and that those who should refuse to deliver the 
objects of their private superstition, were guilty of dis- 
obedience to the authority of the church and of the emperor. 
In their loud and loyal acclamations, they celebrated the 
merits of their temporal redeemer; and to his zeal and justice 
they entrusted the execution of their spiritual censures. At 
Constantinople, as in the former councils, the will of the 

19 Some flowers of rhetoric are IvuoSov irapdvo^ov, nal aBeov and the bishops 
toic txaraiofypoo-ii'. By Damascenus it is styled a*upo<? /cai aSexros (Opera, torn. i. 
p. 623) Spanheim's Apology for the Synod of Constantinople (p. 171,' &c.) is 
worked up with truth and ingenuity, from such materials as he could find in the 
Nicene Acts (p. 1016, &c.). The witty John of Damascus converts eTria-Konov; into 
«/tio/cotou5 ; makes tliem /c<hA<.o6owAovs, slaves of their belly, &c. Opera, torn. i. p. 
306. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 257 

prince was the rule of episcopal faith : but on this occasion, 
I am inclined to suspect that a large majority of the prelates 
sacrificed their secret conscience to the temptations of hope 
and fear. In the long night of superstition, the Christians 
had wandered far away from the simplicity of the gospel: 
nor was it easy for them to discern the clew, and tread back 
the mazes, of the labyrinth. The worship of images was 
inseparably blended, at least to a pious fancy, with the 
Cross, the Virgin, the Saints and their relics ; the holy 
ground was involved in a cloud of miracles and visions ; 
and the nerves of the mind, curiosity and skepticism, were 
benumbed by the habits of obedience and belief. Constantino 
himself is accused of indulging a royal license to doubt, or 
deny, or deride the mysteries of the Catholics,' 20 but they 
were deeply inscribed in the public and private creed of 
his bishops ; and the boldest Iconoclast might assault with 
a secret horror the monuments of popular devotion, which 
were consecrated to the honor of his celestial patrons. In 
the reformation of the sixteenth century, freedom and 
knowledge had expanded all the faculties of man : the thirst 
of innovation superseded the reverence of antiquity; and 
the vigor of Europe could disdain those phantoms which 
terrified the sickly and servile weakness of the Greeks. 

The scandal of an abstract heresy can be only proclaimed 
to the people by the blast of the ecclesiastical trumpet ; but 
the most ignorant can perceive, the most torpid must feel, 
the profanation and downfall of their visible deities. The 
first hostilities of Leo were directed against a lofty Christ 
on the vestibule, and above the gate, of the palaee. A ladder 
had been planted for the assault, but it was furiously shaken 
by a crowd of zealots and women : they beheld, with pious 
transport, the ministers of sacrilege tumbling from on high 
and dashed against the pavement; and the honors of the 
ancient martyrs were prostituted to these criminals, who 
justly suffered 'for murder and rebellion. 21 The execution 
of the Imperial edicts was resisted by frequent tumults in 
Constantinople and the provinces: the person of Leo was 
endangered, his officers were massacred, and the popular en- 

20 He is accused of proscribing the title of saint ; styling the Virgin, Mother 
of Christ comparing her after her delivery to an empty purse ; of Arianism, 
Nestorianisin, &c. In his defence, Sp^nheim (e. iv. p. 207) is somewhat embar- 
rassed between the interest of a Protestant and the duty of an orthodox divine 

21 The holy confessor Theopbanes approves the principle of their rebellion, 
#eiw Kivovfxtvoi 6}Ao> (p. 339). Gregory II. (in Epist. i. ad Imp. Leon.Comil torn, 
yin. pp. 6G1. 664) applauds the zeal of the Bv^antine women who killed the 
Imperial officers. 

y 0L , IV.^-17 



258 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

thusiasm was quelled by the strongest efforts of the civil 
and military power. Of the Archipelago, or Holy Sea, the 
numerous islands were filled with images and monks : their 
votaries abjured, without scruple, the enemy of Christ, his 
mother, and the saints ; they armed a fleet of boats .and gal- 
leys, displayed their consecrated banners, and boldly steered 
for the harbor of Constantinople, to place on the throne a 
new favorite of God and the people. They depended on 
the succor of a miracle : but their miracles were inefficient 
against the Greek fife ; and, after the defeat and conflagra- 
tion of their fleet, the naked islands were abandoned to the 
clemency or justice of the conqueror. The son of Leo, in 
the first year of his reign, had undertaken an expedition 
against the Saracens: during his absence, the capital, the 
palace, and the purple, were occupied by his kinsman Arta- 
vasdes, the ambitious champion of the orthodox faith. The 
worship of images was triumphantly restored : the patriarch 
renounced his dissimulation, or dissembled his sentiments, 
and the righteous claim of the usurper was acknowledged, 
both in the new, and in ancient, Rome. Constantine flew 
for refuge to his paternal mountains ; but he descended at 
the head of the bold and affectionate Isaurians ; and his final 
victory confounded the arms and predictions of the fanatics. 
His long reign was distracted with clamor, sedition, con- 
spiracy, and mutual hatred, and sanguinary revenge; the 
persecution of images was the motive, or pretence, of his ad- 
versaries ; and, if they missed a temporal diadem, they 
were rewarded by the Greeks with the crown of martyrdom. 
In every act of open and clandestine treason, the emperor 
felt the unforgiving enmity of the monks, the faithful slaves 
of the superstition to which they owed their riches and in- 
fluence. They prayed, they preached, they absolved, they 
inflamed, they conspired; the solitude of Palestine poured 
forth a torrent of invective ; and the pen of §t. John Damas- 
cenus, 22 the last of the Greek fathers, devoted the tyrant's 
head, both in this world and the next. 28 * I am not at leis- 

22 John, or Mansur, was a noble Christian of Damascus, who held a consid- 
erable office in the service of the caliph. His zeal in the cause of images ex- 
posed him to the resentment and treachery of the Greek emperor ; and on the 
suspicion of a treasonable correspondence, he was deprived of his right hand, 
which was miraculously restored by the Virgin. After this deliverance, he 
resigned his office, distributed his wealth, and buried himself in the monastery 
of St Sabas, between Jerusalem and the, Dead Sea. The legend is famous : but 
his learned editor, father Lequien, has unluckily proved that St. John Damas- 
cenus was already a monk before the Iconoclast dispute (Opera, torn. i. Vit. St. 
Joan.-Damascen. pp 10-13. et N*tas ad loc). 

23 After sending Leo to the devil, he introduces his heir— to ixLapbv avrov 

* The patriarch Anastasius, an Iconoclast under Leo, an image worshipper 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 259 

lire to examine how far the monks provoked, nor how much 
they have exaggerated, their real and pretended sufferings, 
nor how many lost their lives or limbs, their eyes or their 
beards, by the cruelty of the emperor.* From the chastise- 
ment of individuals, he proceeded to the abolition of the 
order ; and, as it was wealthy and useless, his resentment 
might be stimulated by avarice, and justified by patriotism. 
The formidable name and mission of the lJragori^ his 
visitor-general, excited the terror and abhorrence of the 
black nation : the religious communities were dissolved, the 
buildings were converted into magazines, cr barracks ; the 
lands, movables, and cattle were confiscated ; and our modern 
precedents will support the charge, that much wanton or 
malicious havoc was exercised against the relics, and even 
the books, of the monasteries. With the habit and profes- 
sion of monks, the public and private worship of images was 
rigorously proscribed ; and it should seem, that a solemn 
abjuration of idolatry was exacted from the subjects, or at 
least from the clergy, of the Eastern Empire. 25 

The patient East abjured, with reluctance, her sacred 
images; they were fondly cherished, and vigorously defended, 
by the independent zeal of the Italians. In ecclesiastical 
rank and jurisdiction, the patriarch of Constantinople and 
the pope of Rome were nearly equal. But the Greek prelate 
was a domestic slave under the eye of his master, at whose 
nod he alternately passed from the convent to the throne, 
and from the throne to the convent. A distant and danger- 
ous station, amidst the Barbarians of the West, excited the 
spirit and freedom of the Latin bishops. Their popular elec- 
tion endeared them to the Romans : the public and private 
indigence was relieved by their ample revenue; and the 
weakness or neglect of the emperors compelled them to con- 
sult, both in peace and war, the temporal safety of the city. 

yivvr\p.a % Kai ttj? Kaxt'a? avriv K\rjpovTp.o<; ev £itAo! yevofxevos (Opera, DamflSCen. 

torn. i. p. 625). If the authenticity of this piece be suspicious, we are sure that 
in other works, no longer extant, Damascenus bestowed on Constantino the titles 

Of veov Maja,ut0, XpiaTOfxaxov, /xicrdyiov (tom. i. p. 306). 

24 In the narrative of this persecution from Theophanes and Cedrenus. Span- 
hoim (pp. 235-238) is happy to compare the Draco of Leo with the dragoons 
(Dracones) of Louis XIV.; and highly solaces himself with this controversial pun. 

2o IIp6-ypa/x/u.a yap e^sTTefxxjje /card nacrous e£ap\iav rr\v vtto rrjs ^eipo? avrov, rrdi'Ta? 
vnoyod'l/ai. /cat buvvvai rov oOerrjcrai t'y)v irpoTKvvT)cn.v rutv crenTuiv eifcbvioi' (Damasceil. 

Op. tom. i. p. 625). This oath and subscription I do not remember to have seen 
in any modern compilations. 



under Artavasdes, was scourged, led through the streets on an ass, with his face 
to the tail ; and, reinvested in his dignity, became again the obsequious minister 
of Constantine in his Iconoclastic persecutions. See Schlosser, p. 211,— M. 
* Compare Schlosser, pp. 228-234.— M. 



260 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

In the school of adversity the priest insensibly imbibed the 
virtues and the ambition of a prince ; the same character 
was assumed, the same policy was adopted, by the Italian, 
the Greek, or the Syrian, who ascended the chair of St. 
Peter ; and, after the loss of her legions and provinces, the 
genius and fortune of the popes again restored the supremacy 
of Rome. It is agreed, that in the eighth century, their 
dominion was founded on rebellion, and that the rebellion 
was produced, and justified, by the heresy of the Iconoclasts ; 
but the conduct of the second and third Gregory, in this 
memorable contest, is variously interpreted by the wishes of 
their friends and enemies. The Byzantine writers unani- 
mously declare, that, after a fruitless admonition, they pro- 
nounced the separation of the East and West, and deprived 
the sacrilegious tyrant of the revenue and sovereignty of 
Italy. Their excommunication is still more clearly expressed 
by the Greeks, who beheld the accomplishment of the papal 
triumphs ; and as they are more strongly attached to their 
religion than to their country, they praise, instead of blam- 
ing, the zeal and orthodoxy of these apostolical men. 26 The 
modern champions of Rome are eager to accept the praise 
and the precedent : this great and glorious example of the 
deposition of royal heretics is celebrated by the cardinals 
Baronius and Bell ar mine ; 2? and if they are asked, why the 
same thunders were not hurled against the Neros and Julians 
of antiquity, they reply, that the weakness of the primitive 
church was the sole cause of her patient loyalty. 28 On this 
occasion, the effects of love and hatred are the same ; and 
the zealous Protestants, who seek to kindle the indignation, 
and to alarm the fears, of princes and magistrates, expatiate 
on the insolence and treason of the two Gregories against 
their lawful sovereign. 29 They are defended only by the 

26 Kal tt)v 'Pu>ixr]v avv iraorj 'IraAio ttj? fZa<r>>.€ta.<; avr v aire<TTT]<T€ says Theophanes 
(Chronograph, p. 343). For this Gregory is styled hy Cedrenus av^p dnoaro^LKo^ 
(p. 450). Zonaras specifies the thunder ava.6rjtta.Ti ovvobinw (torn. ii. 1. xv. pp. 104, 
lu5). It may be observed, that the Greeks are apt to confound the times and 
actions of two Gregories. 

27 See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. A. D. 730, No. 4, 5 ; dignum exemplum ! 
Bellarmin. de Romano Pontifice, 1. v. c. 8 : mulctavit eum parte imperii. Sigo- 
nius, de Regno Italiae, 1. iii. Opera, torn. ii. p. 169. Yet such is the change of 
Italy, that Skwnius is corrected by the editor of Milan, Philipus Argelatus, a 
Bolognese, an I subject of the pope. 

1:8 Quod tj Christiani olim non deposuerunt Neronem aut Julianum, id fuit 
quia deerant vires temporales Christianis (honest Bellarmine, de Rom. Pont. 1. 
v. c. 7). Cardinal Perron adds a distinction more honorable to the first Chris- 
tians, but not more satisfactory to modern princes — the treason of heretics and 
apostates, who break their oath, belie their coin, and renounce their allegiance 
to Christ and his vicar. (Perreniana, p. 89.) 

'■•Take, as a specimen, the cautious Basnage (Hist. d'Eglise, pp. 1350. 1351) 
and the vehement Spanheim (Hist. Imaginum), who, with a hundred more, tread 
in the foots Leps of the centuriators of Magdeburgh. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 261 

moderate Catholics, for the most part of the Gallican 
church, 80 who respect the saint, without approving the sin. 
These common advocates of the crown and the mitre cir- 
cumscribe the truth of facts by the rule of equity, Scripture, 
and tradition, and appeal to the evidence of the Latins, 31 
and the lives w and epistles of the popes themselves. 

Two original epistles, from Gregory the Second to the 
emperor Leo, are still extant ; 33 and if they cannot be 
praised as the most perfect models of eloquence and logic, 
they exhibit the portrait, or at least the mask, of the founder 
of the papal monarchy. " During ten pure and fortunate 
years," says Gregory to the emperor, " we have tasted the 
annual comfort of your royal letters, subscribed in purple 
ink, with your own hand, the sacred pledges of your attach- 
ment to the orthodox creed of our fathers. How deplor- 
able is the change ! how tremendous the scandal ! You now 
accuse the Catholics of idolatry; and, by the accusation, 
you betray your own impiety and ignorance. To this igno- 
rance we are compelled to adapt the grossness of our style 
and arguments : the first elements of holy letters are suih- 
cient for your confusion ; and were you to enter a grammar- 
school, and avow yourself the enemy of our worship, the 
simple and pious children would be provoked to cast their 
horn-books at your head." After this decent salutation, the 
pope attempts the usual distinction between the idols of 
antiquity and the Christian images. The former were the 

30 See Launoy (Opera, torn. v. pars ii. epist- vii. 7, pp. 456-474), Natalis Alex- 
ander (Hist. Not. Testamenti, Seoul, viii. dissert, i. pp. 92-96), Pagi (Critica, torn, 
iii. pp. 215, 216), and Giannone (Istoria Civile di Kapoli, toin. i. pp. 317-320), a 
disciple of the Gallican school. In the held of controversy 1 always piiy the 
moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the lire of hoih 
sides. 

*• They appeal to Paul Warnefrid, or Diaconus (de Gestis Langohard. 1. vi. c. 
49. pp. 506, 507, in Script, ltal. Muratori. torn. i. pars i.), and the nominal Anas- 
tasiue (de Vit. Pont, in Muratori, tow. iii. pars i. Gregorius II. p. 154. Grego- 
rius III. p. 158. Zacharb'S. p. 161. Stephanus III. p. 165. Paulus, p. 172. 
Stephanas IV. p. 174. Hadrianus, p. 179. Leo III. p. 195). Yet I may remark, 
that the true Anastasius (Hist. Eccles. p. 134, edit. Keg.) and the Historia IN7 is- 
oella (1. xxi. p. 151, in torn. i. Script. Ital.), both of the ixth century, translate 
and approve the Greek text of Theophanes. 

' M With some minute difference, the most learned critics. Lucas Holstenius, 
Schelestrate, Ciampini, Bianchini, Muratori (Prolegomena ad torn. iii. pars i.), 
are agreed that the Liber Poi.tificalis was composed and continued by the apos- 
tolical librarians and notaries of the viiith and ixth centuries ; and that the last 
and smallest part is the work of Anastasius, whose name it bears. The style is 
barbarous, the narrative partial, the details are trifling— yet it must be read as a 
curious and authentic record of the times. The epistles of the popes are dis- 
persed in the volumes of Councils. 

' M The two epistles of Gregory II. have been preserved in the Acts of the 
Nicene Council (torn viii. pp. 651-674). They are without a date, which is vari- 
ously fixed, bv Baronius in the year 726, by Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, torn. vi. p. 
120) in 7'-9, .'end by Pagi in 730. Such is the force of prejudice, that some papists 
have praised the good sense and moderation of the k se letters. 



262 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

fanciful representations of phantoms or dsemons, at a time 
when the true God had not manifested his person in any 
visible likeness. The latter are the genuine forms of Christ, 
his mother, and his saints, who had approved, by a crowd of 
miracles, the innocence and merit of this relative worship. 
He must indeed have trusted to the ignorance of Leo, since 
he could assert the perpetual use of images, from the apos- 
tolic age, and their venerable presence in the six synods of 
the Catholic church. A more specious argument is drawn 
from present possession and recent practice ; the harmony 
of the Christian world supersedes the demand of a general 
council ; and Gregory frankly confesses, that such assem- 
blies can onlv be useful under the reis;n of an orthodox 
prince. To the impudent and inhuman Leo, more guilty 
than a heretic, he recommends peace, silence, and implicit 
obedience to his spiritual guides of Constantinople and 
Rome. The limits of civil and ecclesiastical powers are 
defined by the pontiff. To the former he appropriates the 
body ; to the latter, the soul : the sword of justice is in the 
hands of the magistrate : the more formidable weapon of 
excommunication is intrusted to the clergy ; and in the 
exercise of their divine commission a zealous son will not 
spare his offending father : the successor of St. Peter may 
lawfully chastise the kings of the earth. "You assault us, 
O tyrant ! with a carnal and military hand : unarmed and 
naked we can only implore the Christ, the prince of the 
heavenly host, that he will send unto you a devil, for the 
destruction of your body and the salvation of your soul. 
You declare, with foolish arrogance, I will despatch my 
orders to Rome : I will break in pieces the image of St. 
Peter ; and Gregory, like his predecessor Martin, shall be 
transported in chains, and in exile, to the foot of the Im- 
perial throne. Would to God that I might be permitted to 
tread in the footsteps of the holy Martin ! but may the fate 
of Constans serve as a warning to the persecutors of the 
church! After his just condemnation by the bishops of 
Sicily, the tyrant was cut off, in the fulness of his sins, by 
a domestic servant : the saint is still adored by the nations 
of Scythia, among whom he ended his banishment and his 
life. But it is our duty to live for the edification and sup- 
port of the faithful people ; nor are we reduced to risk our 
safety on the event of a combat. Incapable as you are of 
defending your Roman subjects, the maritime situation of 
the city may j)erhaps expose it to your depredation ; but we 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIEE. 263 

can remove to the distance of four-and-twenty stadia, M to 

the first fortress of the Lombards, and then you may 

pursue the winds. Are you ignorant that the popes are the 
bond of union, the mediators of peace, between the East and 
West? The eyes of the nations are fixed on our humility; 
and they revere, as a God upon earth, the apostle St. Peter, 
whose image you threaten to destroy. 35 The remote and 
interior kingdoms of the West present their homage to 
Christ and his vicegerent; and we now prepare to visit one 
of their most powerful monarchs ; who desires to receive 
from our hands the sacrament of baptism. 36 The Barbarians 
have submitted to the yoke of the gospel, while you alone 
are deaf to the voice of the Shepherd. These pious Bar- 
barians are kindled into rage : they thirst to avenge the 
persecution of the East. Abandon your rash and fatal 
enterprise ; reflect, tremble, and repent. If you persist, we 
are innocent of the blood that will be spilt in the contest; 
may it fall on your own head ! " 

The first assault of Leo against the images of Constanti- 
nople had been witnessed by a crowd of strangers from Italy 
and the West, who related with grief and indignation the 
sacrilege of the emperor. But on the reception of his pro- 
scriptive edict, they trembled for their domestic deities : the 
images of Christ and the Virgin, of the angels, martyrs, and 
saints, were abolished in all the churches of Italy ; and a 
strong alternative was proposed to the Roman pontiff, the 
royal favor as the price of his compliance, degradation and 
exile as the penalty of his disobedience. Neither zeal nor 
policy allowed him to hesitate ; and the haughty strain in 
which Gregory addressed the emperor displays his con- 
fidence in the truth of his doctrine or the powers of resist- 
ance. Without depending on prayers or miracles, he boldly 
armed against the public enemy, and his pastoral letters 

34 Eikoox Te'<T<ropa craSta U7roY<«)0*j<Tet 6 'Ap^iepfu? 'Pw/mrj? <i? t>)v x<*>P«p Kannavias, 
*ai vnaye Siw^ov tou? avejaov? (Epist. i. p. 664). This proximity of the Lombards 



is hard of digestion. Camillo Pellegrini (Dissert, iv. de Jmcatu Beneventi, in 
the Scrip. Ital. torn. v. pp. 172, 173) forcibly reckons the xxivth stadia, not from 




genuine 
ure- 

30 * Ov ai naval ^atriAetai rij? 8v<rew<; to? ®ebv eniytiov e^ou<ri. 
6 'Anb tt)s 6(ra>T€pou 6v<re<o<r tov Aeyo/ieVou 2eirT€ToG (p. 66f>). The pope appears 

to have imposed on the ignorance of the Greeks: he lived and died in the 
I.ateran ; and in his time all the kingdoms of the West had embraced Christian- 
ity. May not this unknown Sepfefus have some reference to the chief of the 
Saxon Heptarchy, to Ina, king of Wessex, who. in the pontine ate of Gregorv the 
Second, visited Rome for the purpose, not of baptism, but of pilgrimage? (Paei. 
A. D. 689, No. 2. A. D- 726, No. 15). & K h, 



£G4 THE DECLINE AKD FALL 

admonished the Italians of their danger and their duty. 37 At 
this signal, Ravenna, Venice, and the cities of the Exar- 
chate and Pentapolis, adhered to the cause of religion ; their 
military force by sea and land consisted, for the most part, 
of the natives ; and the spirit of patriotism and zeal was 
transfused into the mercenary strangers. The Italians 
swore to live and die in the defence of the pope and the 
holy images; the Roman people was devoted to their father, 
and even the Lombards were ambitious to share the merit 
and advantage of this holy war. The most treasonable act, 
but the most obvious revenge, was the destruction of the 
statues of Leo himself: the most effectual and pleasing 
measure of rebellion, was the withholding the tribute of 
Italy, and depriving him of a power which he had recently 
abused by the imposition of a new capitation. 38 A form of 
administration was preserved by the election of magistrates 
and governors ; and so high was the public indignation, that 
the Italians were prepared to create an orthodox emperor, and 
to conduct him with a fleet and army to the palace of Con- 
stantinople. In that palace, the Roman bishops, the second 
and third Gregory, were condemned as the authors of the 
revolt, and every attempt was made, either by fraud or force, 
to seize their persons, and to strike at their lives. The city 
was repeatedly visited or assaulted by captains of the 
guards, and dukes and exarchs of high dignity or secret 
trust ; they landed with foreign troops, they obtained some 
domestic aid, and the superstition of Naples may blush that 
her fathers were attached to the cause of heresy. But 
these clandestine or open attacks were repelled by the cour- 
age and vigilance of the Romans ; the Greeks were over- 
thrown and massacred, their leaders suffered an ignominious 
death, and the popes, however inclined to mercy, refused to 
intercede for these guilty victims. At Ravenna, 39 the sev- 

3 " I shall transcribe the important and decisive passage of the Liber Pontifi- 
calis. llespiciens ergo pius vir profanam principis jussionem. jam contra Impe- 
ratorem quasi contra host em se armavit, renuens hseresim ejus, scribens ubique 
se cavere Christianos, eo quod orta fuisset impietas talis. Igifur permoti omnes 
Pentapolenses, atque Venetiarum exerc.itus contra Imperatoris jussionem resti- 
terunt ; discentes se nunquam in ejusdem pontificis condescendere necem, sed 
pro ejus magis defensione viriliter decertare (p. Ifi6). 

38 A census, or capitation, says Anastasius (p. 156); a most cruel tax, unknown 
to the Saracens themselves, exclaims the zealous Maimbourg (Hist, des leono- 
clastes. 1. i->, and Theophanes (p. 344), who talks of Pharaoh's numbering the 
male children of Israel. This mode of taxation was familiar to the Saracens; 
jind, most unluckily for the historian, it was imposed a few years afterwards in 
France by his patron Louis XIV 

•'« See 'the Liber Pontificalis of Agnellus (in the Scriptores Perum Italicarum 
of Muratori. torn. ii. pars i.), whose deeper shade of barbarism marks the differ- 
ence between Home and Ravenna. Yet we are indebted to him for seme curious 
and domestic facts— the quarters and factions of Ravenna (p. 154), the revenge of 

-<*linian II. (pp. 160, 161), the defeat of the Greeks (pp. 170, 171), &c. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 265 

eral quarters of the city had long exercised a bloody and 
hereditary feud ; in religious controversy they found a new 
aliment of faction : but the votaries of images were superior 
in numbers or spirit, and the exarch, who attempted to stem 
the torrent, lost his life in a popular sedition. To punish 
this flagitious deed, and restore his dominion in Italy, the 
emperor sent a fleet and army into the Adriatic Gulf. After 
suffering from the winds and waves much loss and delay, 
the Greeks made their descent in the neighborhood of Ra- 
venna : they threatened to depopulate the guilty capital, and 
to imitate, perhaps to surpass, the example of Justinian the 
Second, who had chastised a former rebellion by the choice 
and execution of fifty of the principal inhabitants. The 
women and clergy, in sackcloth and ashes, lay prostrate in 
prayer ; the men were in arms for the defence of their 
country ; the common danger had united the factions, and 
the event of a battle was preferred to the slow miseries of a 
siege. In a hard-fought day, as the two armies alternately 
yielded and advanced, a phantom was seen, a voice was 
heard, and Ravenna was victorious by the assurance of vic- 
tory. The strangers retreated to their ships, but the popu- 
lous sea-coast poured forth a multitude of boats ; the waters 
of the Po were so deeply infected with blood, that during 
six years the public prejudice abstained from the fish of the 
river ; and the institution of an annual feast perpetuated the 
worship of images, and the abhorrence of the Greek tyrant. 
Amidst the triumph of the Catholic arms, the Roman pontiff 
convened a synod of ninety-three bishops against the heresy 
of the Iconoclasts. With their consent, he pronounced a 
general excommunication against all who by word or deed 
should attack the tradition of the fathers and the images of 
the saints : in this sentence the emperor was tacitly in- 
volved, 40 but the vote of a last and hopeless remonstrance 
may seem to imply that the anathema was yet suspended 
over his guilty head. No sooner had they confirmed their 
own safety, the worship of images, and the freedom of Rome 
and Italy, than the popes appear to have relaxed of their 
severity, and to have spared the relics of the Byzantine 
dominion. Their moderate councils delayed and prevented 

40 Yet Leo was undoubtedly comprised in the si quis .... imaginum sacra- 
rum .... destructor .... extiterit, sit extorris a corpore D. N. Jesu Christi 
vel totius ecelesiae mutate. The canonists may decide whether the guilt or the 
name constitutes the excommunication ; and the decision is of the last impor- 
tance to their safety, since, according to the oracle (Gratian, Cans, xxiii. q. 5, c. 
47, apud Spanheim, Hict. Jmag. p. 112) homicidas non esse qui excommunicatoa 
trucidant. 



266 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

the election of a new emperor, and they exhorted the ItaL 
ians not to separate from the body of the Roman monarchy. 
The exarch was permitted to reside within the walls of 
Ravenna, a captive rather than a master ; and till the Im- 
perial coronation of Charlemagne, the government of Rome 
and Italy was exercised in the name of the successors of 
Constantine. 41 

The liberty of Rome, which had been oppressed by the 
arms and arts of Augustus, was rescued, after seven hundred 
and fifty years of servitude, from the persecution of Leo the 
Isaurian. By the Caesars, the triumphs of the consuls had 
been annihilated : in the decline and fall of the empire, the 
god Terminus, the sacred boundary, had insensibly receded 
from the ocean, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates ; 
and Rome was reduced to her ancient territory from Vi- 
terbo to Terracina, and from Narni to the mouth of the 
Tiber. 42 When the kings were banished, the republic re- 
posed on the firm basis which had been founded by their 
wisdom and virtue. Their perpetual jurisdiction was divi- 
ded between two annual magistrates : the senate continued 
to exercise the powers of administration and counsel ; and 
the legislative authority was distributed in the assemblies of 
the people by a well-proportioned scale of property and 
service. Ignorant of the arts of luxury, the primitive 
Romans had improved the science of government and war : 
the will of the community was absolute : the rights of indi- 
viduals were sacred: one hundred and thirty thousand 
citizens were armed for defence or conquest ; and a band of 
robbers and outlaws was moulded into a nation deserving 
of freedom and ambitious of glory. 43 When the sovereignty 
of the Greek emperors was extinguished, the ruins of Rome 
presented the sad, image of depopulation and decay: her 
slavery was a habit, her liberty an accident ; the effect of 
superstition, and the object of her own amazement and 

* l Compescuit tale consilium P.ontifex, sperans conversionem principis (Anas- 
tas. p. 156). Sed ne desisterent ab amore et tide R. J. admonebat (p. 157). The 
popes style Leo and Constantino Copronymus, Imperatores et Domini, with the 
strange epithet of Piissimi. A famous Mosaic of the Lateran (A. D. 7!)8) repre- 
sents Christ, who delivers the keys to St. Peter and the banner to Constantine V. 
(Muratori. Annali dTtalia, torn. vi. p. 337). 

42 I have traced the Roman duchy according to the maps, and the maps ac- 
cording to the excellent dissertation of father Beretti (de Chorographia Italife 
Medii JEvi, sect. xx. pp. 216-232). Yet 1 must nicely observe, that Viterbo is of 
Lombard foundation (p. 211), and that Terracina was usurped by the Greeks. 

43 On the extent, population, &c, of the Roman kingdom, the reader may 
peruse, with pleasure, the Discours I'reliminaire to the Republique Romaine of 
M. de Beaufort (torn, i.), who will not be accused of too much credulity for the 
early ages of Rome. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 267 

terror. The last vestige of the substance, or even the forms, 
of the constitution, was obliterated from the practice and 
memory of the Romans ; and they were devoid of knowU 
edge, or virtue, again to build the fabric of a commonwealth. 
Their scanty remnant, the offspring of slaves and strangers, 
was despicable in the eyes of the victorious Barbarians. As 
often as the Franks or Lombards expressed their most bitter 
contempt of a foe, they called him a Roman ; "and in this 
name," says the bishop Liutprand, " we include whatever is 
base, whatever is cowardly, whatever is perfidious, the ex- 
tremes of avarice and luxury, and every vice that can 
prostitute the dignity of human nature." 44 * By the neces- 
sity of their situation, the inhabitants of Rome were cast 
into the rough model of a republican government : they 
were compelled to elect some judges in peace, and some 
leaders in war ; the nobles assembled to deliberate, and 
their resolves could not be executed without the union and 
consent of the multitude. The style of the Roman senate 
and people was revived, 45 but the spirit was fled ; and their 
new independence was disgraced by the tumultuous conflict 
of licentiousness and oppression. The want of laws could 
only be supplied by the influence of religion, and their for- 
eign and domestic counsels w r ere moderated by the authority 
of the bishop. His alms, his sermons, his correspondence 
with the kings and prelates of the West, his recent services, 
their gratitude, and oath, accustomed the Romans to con- 
sider him as the first magistrate or prince of the city. The 
Christian humility of the popes was not offended by the 
name of Dominus, or Lord ; and their face and inscription 
are still apparent on the most ancient coins. 46 Their tem- 

44 Quos (Romanos) nos, Longobardi scilicet, Saxones, Franci, Lotharingi, 
Bajoarii, Suevi, Burgundiones, taiito dedigiiamur ut inindcos nostros commoti, 
nil aliud contumeliarum nisi Roinane, dicamus • hoc solo, id est Konianorum 
nomine, quicquid ignobilitatis, quicquid timiditatis, quicquid avaritiaj, quiequid 
luxuriae, quicquid mendacii, iinnio quiequid vitiorum est comprebendentes 
(Liutprand, in Lcgat. Script. Ital. torn. ii. pars i. p. 481). For the sins of Cato or 
Tully, Minos might have imposed as a tit penance the daily perusal of this bar- 
barous passage. 

*'■> Pipiuo regi Francorum, omnis senatus, atque universa populi generalitas a 
Deo servatae RomanaB urbis. Codex Carolin. epist. 36, in Script. Ital. torn. iii. 
pars ii. p. 160. Tbe names of senatus and senator were never totally extinct 
(Oi.ssert. Chorograph. pp. L'lG. 217); but in tbe middle ages they signified little 
more than nobiles, optimal es, &c. (Oueange, Gloss. Latin). 

40 See Muratori, Antiquit. Italia? Medii^Evi, torn. ii. Dissertat. xxvii. p. 548* 
On one of these coins we read Hadriauus Papa (A. />. 772); on the reverse. Vict. 
DDNN. with the word (ON OB, which tbe Pere Joubert (Science des Medailles, 
tom.ii. p. 42) explains by COiVstantinopoli Officii! a B (secunda). 



* Yet th.s contumelious sentence, quoted by Robertson (Charles V. note 2) as 
well as Gibbon, was applied by tne angry bishop to ihe Byzantine Romans, whom, 
indeed, he admits to be the genuine descendants of Romulus.— M. 



268 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

poral dominion is now confirmed by the reverence of a 
thousand years; and their noblest title is the free choice of 
a j^eople, whom they had redeemed from slavery. 

In the quarrels of ancient Greece, the holy people of Elis 
enjoyed a perpetual peace, under the protection of Jupiter, 
and in the exercise of the Olympic games. 47 Happy would 
it have been for the Romans, if a similar privilege had 
guarded the patrimony of St. Peter from the calamities of 
war ; if the Christians, who visited the holy threshold, 
would have sheathed their swords in the presence of the 
aposfle and his successor. But this mystic circle could have 
been traced only by the wand of a legislator and a sage : 
this pacific system was incompatible with the zeal and ambi- 
tion of the popes : the Romans were not addicted, like the 
inhabitants of Elis, to the innocent and placid labors of 
agriculture ; and the Barbarians of Italy, though softened 
by the climate, were far below the Grecian states in the in- 
stitutions of public and private life. A memorable example 
of repentance and piety was exhibited by Liutprand, king 
of the Lombards. In arms, at the gate of the Vatican, the 
conqueror listened to the voice of Gregory the Second, 48 
withdrew his troops, resigned his conquests, respectfully 
visited the church of St. Peter, and after performing his de- 
votions, offered his sword and dagger, his cuirass and 
mantle, his silver cross, and his crown of gold, on the tomb 
of the apostle. But this religious fervor was the illusion, 
perhaps the artifice, of the moment ; the sense of interest is 
strong and lasting ; the love of arms and rapine was con- 
genial to the Lombards; and both the prince and people 
were irresistibly tempted by the disorders of Italy, the 
nakedness of Rome, and the un warlike profession of her new 
chief. On the first edicts of the emperor, they declared 
themselves the champions of the holy images : Liutprand 
invaded the province of Romagna, which had already 
assumed that distinctive appellation ; the Catholics of the 
Exarchate yielded without reluctance to his civil and mili- 
tary power; and a foreign enemy was introduced for the 
first time into the impregnable fortress of Ravenna. That 
city and fortress were speedily recovered by the active dili- 

4 7 See West's Dissertation on the Olympic Games (Pindar, vol. ii. pp. 32-30, 
edition in 12mo.), and the judicious reflections of Polybius (torn. i. 1. iv. p. 466, 
edit. Gronov.). 

48 The speech of Gregory to the Lombard is finely composed by Sigonius (de 
Regno Italise, 1. iii. Opera, torn. ii. p. 173), who imitates the license and the spirit 

* Sallust or Livy. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 269 

gence and maritime forces of the Venetians ; and those 
faithful subjects obeyed the exhortation of Gregory himself, 
in separating the personal guilt of Leo from the general 
cause of the Roman empire. 49 The Greeks were less mind- 
ful of the service, than the Lombards of the injury : the two 
nations, hostile in their faith, were reconciled in a dangerous 
and unnatural alliance : the king and the exarch marched 
to the conquest of Spoleto and Rome : the storm evaporated 
without effect, but the policy of Liutprand alarmed Italy 
with a vexatious alternative of hostility and truce. His 
successor Astolphus declared himself the equal enemy of the 
emperor and the pope : Ravenna was subdued by force or 
treachery, 60 and this final conquest extinguished the series 
of the exarchs, who had reigned with a subordinate power 
since the time of Justinian and the ruin of the Gothic king- 
dom. Rome was summoned to acknowledge the victorious 
Lombard as her lawful sovereign ; the annual tribute of a 
piece of gold was fixed as the ransom of each citizen, and 
the sword of destruction was unsheathed to exact the penalty 
of her disobedience. .The Romans hesitated ; they entreated ; 
they complained ; and the threatening Barbarians were 
checked by arms and negotiations, till the popes had engaged 
the friendship of an ally and avenger beyond the Alps. 51 

In his distress, the first* Gregory had implored the aid 
of the hero of the age, of Charles Martel, who governed the 
French monarchy with the humble title of mayor or duke; 
and who, by his signal victory over the Saracens, had saved 
his country, and perhaps Europe, from the Mahometan yoke. 
The ambassadors of the pope were received by Charles with 
decent reverence ; but the greatness of his occupations, and 
the shortness of his life, prevented his interference in the 
affairs of Italy, except by a friendly and ineffectual media- 
tion. His son Pepin, the heir of his power and virtues, as- 

49 The Venetian historians, John Sagorninus (Ohron. Venet. p. 13). and the 
doge Andrew Dandolo (Scriptores Ker. ital torn. xii. p. 135>, have preserved this 
epistle of Gregory. The loss and recovery of Ravenna are mentioned hy Paulus 
Diaeonus(de Gest. Langobard. 1. vi. c. 49, 54, in Script. Ital. torn. i. pars i'. pp. 506, 
508); but our chronologists, Pagi, Muratori, &c, cannot ascertain the date or 
circumstances. 

50 The option will depend on the various readings of the MSS. of Anastasins— 
deceperat, or decerpserat (Script. Ital. torn. iii. pars i. p. 167). 

51 The Codex Carolinus is a collection of the epistles of the popes to Charles 
Martel (whom they style Subrefiulus), Pepin, and Charlemagne, as far as the 
y<^ar 701. when it was formed by the last of these princes. His original and au- 
thentic, MS. (Bibliothecae Cnbicularis) is now in the Imperial library of Vienna, 
and bns been published by Lambecius and Muratori (Script. Rerum ital. torn. iii. 
pars ii. p. 75, &c). 



* Gregory I. had been dead above a century ; read Gregory III.— M. 



270 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sumed the office of champion of the Roman church ; and 
the zeal of the French prince appears to have been 
prompted by the love of glory and religion. But the 
danger was on the banks of the Tiber, the succor on 
those of the Seine ; and our sympathy is cold to the re- 
lation of distant misery. Amidst the tears of the city, 
Stephen the Third embraced the generous resolution of 
visiting in person the Courts of Lombard y and France, to 
deprecate the injustice of his enemy, or to excite the pity 
and indignation of his friend. After soothing the public 
despair by litanies and orations, he undertook this labori- 
ous journey with the ambassadors of the French monarch 
and the Greek emperor. The king of the Lombards was 
inexorable; but his threats could not silence the complaints, 
nor retard the speed, of the Roman pontiff, who traversed 
the Pennine Alps, reposed in the abbey of St. Maurice, and 
hastened to grasp the right hand of his protector ; a hand 
which was never lifted in vain, either in war or friendship. 
Stephen was entertained as the visible successor of the 
apostle ; at the next assembly, the field of March or of May, 
his injuries were exposed to a devout and warlike nation, 
and he repassed the Alps, not as a suppliant, but as a con- 
queror, at the head of a French army, which was led by the 
king in person. The Lombards, after a weak resistance, ob- 
tained an ignominious peace, and swore to restore the pos- 
sessions, and to respect the sanctity, of the Roman church. 
But no sooner was Astolphus delivered from the presence 
of the French arms, than he forgot his promise and resented 
his disgrace. Rome was again encompassed by his arms; 
and Stephen, apprehensive of fatiguing the zeal of his 
Transalpine allies, enforced his complaint and request by 
an eloquent letter in the name and person of St. Peter him- 
self. 52 The apostle assures his adopted sons, the king, the 
clergy, and the nobles of France, that, dead in the fles-h, he 
is still alive in the spirit; that they now hear, and must 
obey, the voice of the founder and guardian of the Roman 
church; that the Virgin, the angels, the saints, and the mar- 
tyrs, and all the host of heaven, unanimously urge the 
request, and will confess the obligation ; that riches, vic- 
tory, and paradise, will crown their pious enterprise, and 

52 Se>e this most extraordinary letter in Hie Codex Cavolinus, epist. iii. p. 02. 
The enemies of the popes have charged them with fraud and blasphemy ; yet 
they surely meant to persuade rather than deceive. This introduction of the 
<lead, or of immortals, was familiar to the ancient orators, though it is executed 

M >is occasion in the rude fashion of the age. 



OF THE EOMAN EMPIRE. 271 

that eternal damnation will be the penalty of their neglect, 
if they suffer his tomb, his temple, and his people, to fall 
into the hands of the perfidious Lombards. The second ex- 
pedition of Pepin was not less rapid and fortunate than the 
first: St. Peter was satisfied, Rome was again saved, and 
Astolphus was taught the lessons of justice and sincerity by 
the scourge of a foreign master. After this double chastise- 
ment, the Lombards languished about twenty years in a 
state of languor and decay. But their minds were not yet 
humbled to their condition ; and instead of affecting the 
pacific virtues of the feeble, they peevishly harassed the 
Ilomans with a repetition of claims, evasions, and inroads, 
which they undertook without reflection and terminated 
without glory. On either side, their expiring monarchy 
was pressed by the zeal and prudence of Pope Adrian the 
First, the genius, the fortune, and greatness of Charle- 
magne, the son of Pepin ; these heroes of the church and 
state were united in public and domestic friendship, and 
while they trampled on the prostrate, they varnished their 
proceedings with the fairest colors of equity and modera- 
tion. 53 The passes of the Alps, and the walls of Pavia, 
were the only defence of the Lombards; the former were 
surprised, the latter were invested, by the son of Pepin ; 
and after a blockade of two years,* Desiderius, the last of 
their native princes, surrendered his sceptre and his capital. 
Under the dominion of a foreign king, but in the possession 
of their national laws, the Lombards became the brethren, 
rather than the subjects, of the Franks; who derived their 
blood, and manners, and language, from the same Germanic 
origin. 54 

The mutual obligations of the popes and the Carlovin- 
gian family form the important link of ancient and modern, 
of civil and ecclesiastical, history, In the conquest of Italy, 
the champions of the Roman church -obtained a favorable 
occasion, a specious title, the wishes of the people, the 
prayers and intrigues of the clergy. But the most essential 

63 Except in the divorce of the daughter of Desiderius, whom (Charlemagne 
repudiated sine aliquo crimine. Pope Stephen IV. had most furiously opposed 
the alliance of a noble Frank— cum perfida, horrida, nee dicenda, foetentissima 
natioue Longobardorum— to whom he imputes the first stain of leprosy (Cod. 
Carotin, epist. 45, pp. 178, 179). Another reason against the marriage was the ex- 
istence of a lirst wife (Muratori, Annali d'ltalia, torn, vi, pp. 2.32, 233, 23(3, 237). 
But Charlemagne indulged himself in the freedom of polygamy or concubinage. 

m See the Annali d'ltalia of Muratori, torn, vi., and the three lirst Disserta- 
tions of his Anticjuitatea Italia? Medii M\i, torn. i. 



• Of fifteen months. James, Life of Charlemagne, p. 187.— M. 



272 Till: DECLINE AND FALL 

gifts of the popes to the Carlovingian nice were the digni- 
ties of king of France, 55 and of patrician of Rome. I. Un- 
der the sacerdotal monarchy of St. Peter, the nations began 
to resume the practice of seeking, on the banks of the Tiber, 
their kings, their laws, and the oracles of their fate. The 
Franks were perplexed between the name and substance of 
their government. All the powers of royalty were exercised 
by Pepin, mayor of the palace; and nothing, except the re- 
gal title, was wanting to his ambition. His enemies were 
crushed by his valor; his friends were multiplied by his lib- 
erality; his father had been the savior of Christendom; and 
the claims of personal merit were repeated and ennobled in 
a descent of four generations. The name and image of roy- 
alty was still preserved in the last descendant of Clovis, the 
feeble Childeric; but his obsolete right could only be used 
as an instrument of sedition : the nation was desirous of re- 
storing the simplicity of the constitution; and Pepin, a sub- 
ject and a prince, was ambitious to ascertain his own rank 
and the fortune of his family. The mayor and the nobles 
w^ere bound, by an oath of fidelity, to the royal phantom: 
the blood of Clovis was pure and sacred in their eyes ; and 
their common ambassadors addressed the Roman pontiff, to 
dispel their scruples, or to absolve their promise. The in- 
terest of Pope Zachary, the successor of the two Gregories, 
prompted him to decide, and to decide in their favor: he 
pronounced that the nation might lawfully unite in the 
same person the title and authority of king; and that the 
unfortunate Childeric, a victim of the public safety, should 
be degraded, shaved, and confined in a monastery for the 
remainder of his days. An answer so agreeable to their 
wishes was accepted by the Franks as the opinion of a 
casuist, the sentence of a judge, or the oracle of a prophet; 
the Merovingian race disappeared from the earth ; and 
Pepin was exalted on a buckler by the suffrage of a free 
people, accustomed to obey his laws, and to march under 
his standard. His coronation was twice performed, with 
the sanction of the popes, by their most faithful servant 
St. Boniface, the apostle of Germany, and by the grateful 
hands of Stephen the Third, who, in the monastery of St. 

M Besides the common historians, three French critics, Lnnnoy (Opera, torn. 
v. pars ii. 1. vii. epist. 9. pp. 477-487), Patji (Critica, A. D. 751, No. 1-6, A. I). 7.~.l', 
No. 1-H>)» and Natalia Alexander (Mist. Novi Testamenti, dissertat. ii. pp. !H>-107), 
have treated this subject of the deposition of Childeric with learning and atten- 
tion, but with a strong bias to save the independence of the crown. Yet they are 
hard pressed by the texts which they produce of Eginhard, Theophanes,and the 
uld annals, Laureshainenses, Fuldeiises, Loisielani. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 2j 3 

Denys, placed the diadem on the head of his benefactor. 
The royal unction of the kings of Israel was dexterously 
applied: 50 the successor of St. Peter assumed the character 
of a divine ambassador : a German chieftain was transformed 
into the Lord's anointed ; and this Jewish rite has been dif- 
fused and maintained by the superstition and vanity of 
modern Europe. The Franks were absolved from their 
ancient oath; but a dire anathema was thundered against 
them and their posterity, if they should dare to renew the 
same freedom of choice, or to elect a king, except in the 
holy and meritorious race of the Carlovingian princes. 
Without apprehending the future danger, these prince? 
gloried in their present security : the secretary of Charle- 
magne affirms, that the French sceptre was transferred by 
the authority of the popes; 57 and in their boldest enter- 
prises, they insist, with confidence, on this signal and suc- 
cessful act of temporal jurisdiction. 

II. In the change of manners and language the patri- 
cians of Rome 58 were far removed from the senate of Romu- 
lus, or the palace of Constantine, from the free nobles of the 
republic, or the fictitious parents of the emperor. After 
the recovery of Italy and Africa by the arms of Justinian, 
the importance and danger of those remote provinces re- 
quired the presence of a supreme magistrate ; he was in- 
differently styled the exarch or the patrician ; and these 
governors of Ravenna, who fill their place in the chronol- 
ogy of princes extended their jurisdiction over the Roman 
city. Since the revolt of Italy and the loss of the Exar- 
chate, the distress of the Romans had exacted some sacrifice 
of their indep'endence. Yet, even in this act, they exercised 
the right of disposing of themselves ; and the decrees of 
the senate and people successively invested Charles Martel 
and his posterity with the honors of patrician of Rome. 

00 Not absolutely for the first time. On a less conspicuous theatre, it had been 
used, in the vith and viith centuries, by the provincial bishops of Britain and 
Spain. The royal unction of Constantinople was borrowed from the Latins in 
the last age of the empire. Constantine Manasses mentions that of Chailemagne 
as a foreign, Jewish, incomprehensible ceremony. See Seidell's Titles of Honor, 
in his Works, vol. iii. part i. pp. 234-249. 

; ' 7 See Eginhard, in Vita Caroli Magni, c. i. p. 9, &c, c. iii. p. 24. Childeric was 
deposed— JussU, the Carlovingians were established— aucforitafe, Pontificis 
Komani. Launoy, &c, pretend that these strong words are susceptible of a very 
soft interpretation. Be it so ; yet Eginhard understood the world, the court, and 
the Latin language. 

• A For the title and powers of patrician of Pome, see Ducange (Gloss. Latin, 
torn. v. pp. 149-151), Pagi (Critica, A.I). 740, No. 6-11), Muratori (Annali d'ltaha, 
torn. vi. pp. 308-329), and St. Marc (Abrege Chronolcgique d'ltalie, torn. i. pp. 379- 
382). Of these the Franciscan Pagi is the most disposed to make the patrician a 
lieutenant of the church, rather than of the empire. 

Vol. IV.— 18 



274 THE DECLINE AXD FALL 

The leaders of a powerful nation would have disdained a 
servile title and subordinate office; but the reign of the 
. Greek emperors was suspended ; and, in the vacancy of the 
empire, they derived a more glorious commission from the 
pope and the republic. The Roman ambassadors presented 
these patricians with the keys of the shrine of St. Peter, 
as a pledge and symbol of sovereignty ; with a holy banner 
which it was their right and duty to unfurl in the defence 
of the church and city. 59 In the time of Charles Martel 
and of Pepin, the interposition of the Lombard kingdom 
covered the freedom, while it threatened the safety, of 
Rome ; and the patriciate represented only the title, the 
service, the alliance, of these distant protectors. The 
power and policy of Charlemagne annihilated an enemy, 
and imposed a master. In his first visit to the capital, he 
was received with all the honors which had formerly been 
paid to the exarch, the representative of the emperor ; and 
these honors obtained some new decorations from the joy 
and gratitude of Pope Adrian the First. 60 No sooner was 
he informed of the sudden approach of the monarch, than 
he despatched the magistrates and nobles of Rome to meet 
him, with the banner, about thirty miles from the city. At 
the distance of one mile, the Flaminian way was lined with 
the schools, or national communities, of Greeks, Lombards, 
Saxons, &c. : the Roman youth were under arms ; and the 
children of a more tender age, with palms and olive 
branches in their hands, chanted the praises of their great 
deliverer. At the aspect of the holy crosses, and ensigns 
of the saints, he dismounted from his horse, led the pro- 
cession of his nobles to the Vatican, and, as he ascended 
the stairs, devoutly kissed each step of the threshold of the 
apostles. In the portico, Adrian expected him'at the head 
of his clergy : they embraced, as friends and equals ; hut 
in the march to the altar, the king or patrician assumed the 
right hand of the pope. Nor was the Frank content with 
these vain and empty demonstrations of respect. In the 
twenty-six years that elapsed between the conquest of Lom- 

59 The papal advocates can soften the symbolic meaning of the banner and the 
keys ; but the style of ad reynum dimisimus, or direximus (Codex Carolin. epist. 
i. torn. iii. pars ii. p. 76), seems to allow of no palliation or escape. In the MS. of 
the Vienna library, they read, instead of regnum, rof/uin, prayer or request (see 
Ducange) ; and the royalty of Charles Martel is subverted by this important cor- 
rection (Catalani, in his Critical Prefaces, Annali d'ltnlia, torn. xvii. pp. 05-90). 

C) In the authentic narrative of this reception, the Liber Pontificalis observes 
— obviani illi ejus sanctitas dirigens venerabiles cruces, id est signa ; Blent mos 
est ad exarchuin, aut patricium suscipieudum, eum cum ingenti honore suscipi 
fecit (torn. iii. pars i. p. 185). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 275 

bardy and his Imperial coronation, Rome, which had been 
delivered by the sword, was subject, as his own, to the 
sceptre of Charlemagne. The people swore allegiance to 
his person and family : in his name money was coined, and 
justice was administered: and the election of the popes 
was examined and confirmed by his authority. Except an 
original and self-inherent claim of sovereignty, there was 
not any prerogative remaining, which the title of emperor 
could add to the patrician of Rome. 61 

The gratitude of the Carlovingians was adequate to 
these obligations, and their names are consecrated, as the 
saviors and benefactors of the Roman church. Her an- 
cient patrimony of farms and houses was transformed by 
their bounty into the temporal dominion of cities and prov- 
inces ; and the donation of the Exarchate was the first-fruits 
of the conquests of Pepin. 02 Astolphus witli a sigh relin- 
quished his prey ; the keys and the hostages of the princi- 
pal cities were delivered to the French ambassador ; and, in 
his master's name, he presented them before the tomb of 
St. Peter. The ample measure of the Exarchate 63 might 
comprise all the provinces of Italy which had obeyed the 
emperor and his vicegerent ; but its strict and proper limits 
were included in the territories of Ravenna, Bologna, and 
Ferrara : its inseparable dependency was the Pentapolis, 
which stretched along the Adriatic from Rimini to Ancona, 
and advanced into the midland country as far as the ridges 
of the Apennine. In this transaction, the ambition and 
avarice of the popes have been severely condemned. Per- 
haps the humility of a Christian priest should have rejected 
an earthly kingdom, which it was not easy for him to gov- 
ern without renouncing the virtues of his profession. Per- 
haj:>s a faithful subject, or even a generous enemy, would 
have been less impatient to divide the spoils of the Bar- 
barian ; and if the emperor had intrusted Stephen to solicit 

61 Paulus Diaconus, who wrote before the empire of Charlemagne, describes 
Rome as his subject city— vestrae civitates (ad Pompeium Festum) suis addidit 
sceptris (de Metensis Ecelesiie Episcopis). Some Carlovingian medals, struck at 
Rome, have engaged Le Blanc to write an elaborate, though partial, dissertation 
on their authority at Rome, boih as patricians and emperors (Amsterdam, 16C2, in 
4to). 

112 Mosheim (Institution Hist. Ecc]es. p. 2G.°>) weighs tins donation with fair and 
deliberate prudence. The original act .has never been produced; but ibe Liber 
Pontifical is represents (p. 171). and the Codex Carolinus supposes, this ample 
gift. Both are contemporary records ; and the latter is the more authentic, since 
it has been preserved, not in the Papal, but the Imperial, library. 

cri Between the exorbitant claims, and narrow concessions, of interest and 
prejudice, from which even Muntoii (Antiquitat. torn. i. pp. 63-68) is not exempt, 
I have been guided, in the limits of the Exarchate and Pentapolis, by the *Mssar- 
tatio Chorographica Italia: Aledii JEvi, toin. x. pp. 1C0-180. 



276 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

in his name the restitution of the Exarchate, I will not ab- 
solve the pope from the reproach of treachery and false- 
hood. But in the rigid interpretation of the laws, every 
one may accept, without injury, whatever his benefactor 
can bestow without injustice. The Greek emperor had ab- 
dicated, or forfeited, his right to the Exarchate ; and the 
sword of Astolphus was broken by the stronger sword of 
the Carlovingian. It was not in the cause of the Iconoclast 
that Pepin had exposed his person and army in a double ex- 
pedition beyond the Alps : he possessed, and might lawfully 
alienate, his conquests : and to the importunities of the 
Greeks lie piously replied that no human consideration 
should tempt him to resume the gift which lie had conferred 
on the Roman Pontiff for the remission of his sins, and the 
salvation of his soul. The splendid donation was granted 
in supreme and absolute dominion, and the world beheld 
for the first time a Christian bishop invested with the pre- 
rogatives of a temporal prince ; the choice of magistrates, 
the exercise of justice, the imposition of taxes, and the 
wealth of the palace of Ravenna. In the dissolution of 
the Lombard kingdom, the inhabitants of the duchy of 
Spoleto G4 sought a refuge from the storm, shaved their 
heads after the Roman fashion, declared themselves the ser- 
vants and subjects of St. Peter, and completed, by this vol- 
untary surrender, the present circle of the ecclesiastical 
state. That mysterious circle was enlarged to an indefinite 
extent, by the verbal or written donation of Charlemagne, 65 
who, in the first transports of his victory, despoiled him- 
self and the Greek emperor of the cities and islands which 
had formerly been annexed to the Exarchate. But, in the 
cooler moments of absence and reflection, lie viewed, with, 
an eye of jealousy and envy, the recent greatness of big 
ecclesiastical ally. The execution of his own and his 
father's promises was respectfully eluded : the king of the 
Franks and Lombards asserted the inalienable rights of the 

«* Spoletini deprecati sunt, ut eos in servitio B. Petri reciperet et more 
Bomauorum tonsurari faceret (Anastasius, p. 185). Yet it may be a question 
whether they gave their own persons or their country. 

e The policy and donations of Charlemagne are carefully examined by St. 
Mare (Abrege, torn. i. pp. 390-408), who has well studied the Codex Carolinus. I 
believe, with him, that they were only verbal. The most ancient act of do 
nation that pretends to be extant, is that of the emperor Lewis the Pious (Sigo- 
nius, <le Regno Italian, 1. iv. Opera, torn. ii. pp. 2f>7-270). Its authenticity, or at 
least its integrity, are much questioned (Pagi, A. I). 817, No. 7, &c. jUuratori, 
Annali, torn. vi. p. 432, &c. Dissertat. Chorographica, pp. 33, 34) ; but I see no 
reasonable objection to these princes so freely disposing of what was not theii 
own. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 277 

empire ; and, in his life and death, Ravenna, 60 as well as 
Koine, was numbered in the list of his metropolitan cities. 
The sovereignty of the Exarchate melted away in the hands 
of the popes ; they found in the archbishops of Ravenna a 
dangerous and domestic rival : 67 the nobles and people dis- 
dained the yoke of a priest ; and in the disorders of the 
times, they could only retain the memory of an ancient 
claim, which, in a more prosperous age, they have revived 
and realized. 

Fraud is the resource of weakness and cunning; and the 
strong, though ignorant, Barbarian was often entangled in 
the net of sacerdotal policy. The Vatican and Lateran were 
an arsenal and manufacture, which, according to the occasion, 
have produced or concealed a various collection of false or 
genuine, of corrupt or suspicious, acts, as they tended 
to promote the interest of the Roman church. Before the 
end of the eighth century, some apoctolical scribe, perhaps 
the notorious Isidore, composed the decretals, and the 
donation of Constantine, the two magic pillars of the spiritual 
and temporal monarchy of the popes. This memorable 
donation was introduced to the world by an epistle of 
Adrian the First, who exhorts Charlemagne to imitate the 
liberality, and revive the name, of the great Constantine. 68 
According to the legend, the first of the Christian emperors 
was healed of the leprosy, and purified in the waters of 
baptism, by St. Silvester, the Roman bishop ; and never 
was physician more gloriously recompensed. His royal 
proselyte withdrew from the seat and patrimony of St. 
Peter; declared his resolution of founding a new capital in 
the East ; and resigned to the popes the free and perpetual 
sovereignty of Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the West/' 9 
This fiction was productive of the most 1 eneficial effects. 

" 6 Charlemagne solicited and obtained from the proprietor, Hadrian I., the 
mosaics of the palace of Ravenna, for the decoration of Aix-la-Chapelle (Cod. 
Carol in. epist. 67, p. 223). 

07 The popes often complain of the usurpations of Leo of Ravenna (Codex 
Carolin. epist. 51, 52, 53, pp. 200-205). Si corpus St. Andreae fratris germani St. 
Petri hie humasset, nequaquam nos Romani pontihcessicsubjugassent(Agnellus, 
Liher Pontificalis, in Scriptorea Rerum Ital. torn, ii pars i. p. 107). 

b8 Piissimo Constantino magno. per ejus largitatem S. R. Eeclesia elevata eb 
exaltataest, et potestatem in his ITesneria? partibus largiri digrmtusest. * * * Quia 
ecce novus Constantinus his temporibus, <fce. (Codex Carolin. epist. 49. in torn. iii. 
part ii. p. 195). Pagi (Critica, A. I). '".24, No. 1G) ascribes them to an impostor of 
the viiith century, who borrowed the name of St. Isidore : his humble title of 
/'cccafor was ignorantly, but aptly, turned into M 'creator ,• his merchandise was 
indeed profitable, and a few sheets of paper were sold for much wealth and power. 

,;0 Fabricius (Bibliot. Gnec torn. vi. pp. 4-7) has enumerated the several editionb 
of this Act, in Greek and. Latin. The copy which Laurentius Valla recites and 
refuses, appears to be taken either from the spurious Acts of St. Silvester or from 
Gratian's Decree, to which, according to hiiu and otneu, it has bejn bunepti- 
tiou3ly tacked. 



278 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The Greek princes were convicted of the guilt of usurpation; 
and the revolt of Gregory was the claim of his lawful 
inheritance. The popes were delivered from their debt of 
gratitude ; and the nominal gifts of the Carlovingians were 
no more than the just and irrevocable restitution of a scanty 
portion of the ecclesiastical state. The sovereignty of Rome 
no longer depended on the choice of a fickle people ; and 
the successors of St. Peter and Constantine were invested 
with the purple and prerogatives of the Caesars. So deep 
was the ignorance and credulity of the times, that the most 
absurd ot fables was received, with equal reverence, in Greece 
and in France, and is still enrolled among the decrees of the 
canon law. 70 The emperors, and the Romans, were incapable 
ot discerning a forgery, that subverted their rights and free- 
dom ; and the only opposition proceeded from a Sabine 
monastery, which, in the beginning of the twelfth century, 
disputed the truth and validity of the donation of Constan- 
tine. 71 In the revival of letters and liberty, this fictitious 
deed was transpierced by the pen of Laurentius Valla, the 
pen of an eloquent critic and a Roman patriot. 7 ' 2 His 
contemporaries of the fifteenth century were astonished at 
his sacrilegious boldness ; yet such is the silent and irresistible 
progress of reason, that, before the end of the next age, the 
fable was rejected by the contempt of historians 73 and 
poets, 74 and the tacit or modest censure of the advocates of 

" c In the year 1059, it was believed (was it believed ?) by Pope Leo IX. Cardinal 
Peter Damianus, &c- Muratori places (Annali d'ltalia, torn. ix. pp. 23, 24) the 
fictitious donations of Lewis the Pious, the Otbos,&c„ de Donatione Constantiui 
See a Dissertation ot" Natalis Alexander, seculum iv. diss. 25, pp. 335-350. 

'"> See a large account of the controversy (A. D. 1105) which arose from a private 
lawsuit, in the Chronicon Farsense (Script. Rerum Italicarum, torn. ii. pars ii. 
p. 637, &c). a copious extract from the archives of that Benedictine abbey. They 
were formerly accessible to curious foreigners (I.e Blanc and Mabillon), and 
would have enriched the first volume of the HistoriaMonastica Italias of Quirini. 
But thev are now imprisoned (Muratori, Scriptores R. I. torn. ii. pars ii. p. 269) by 
the timid policy of the court of Rome ; and the future cardinal yielded to the 
voice of authority and the whispers of ambition (Quirini, Comment, pars ii. pp. 
123-136). T .,.„,. 

•- 1 have read in the collection of Schardius (de Potestate Tmperiah Ecclesias- 
tica, pp. 734-780) this animated discourse, which was composed by the author, 
A. D 1440, six years after the flight of Pope Eugenius IV. It is a most vehement 
party pamphlet : Vail i justifies and animates the revolt of the Romans, and would 
even approve the use of a dagger against their sacerdotal tyrant. Such a critic might 
expect the persecution of the clergy ; yet he made his peace, and is buried in the 
Lateran (Bayle, Dictionnaire Critique, Valla ; Vossius, de HLstoncis, Latims, 
p. 580). 

" See Guicciardini, a servant of the popes, in that long and valuable digres- 
sion, which has resumed its place in the last edition, correctly published from the 
author's MS. and printed in four volumes in quarto, under the name of Fnburgo, 
1775 (Istoria d'ltalia, torn. i. pp. 38.5-395). 

™ The Paladin Astolpho found it in the moon, among the things that were lost 
Upon earth (Orlando Furioso, xxxiv. 80)/ 

Di vari fiore ad un grand monte passa, 
Ch' febbe gia buono odore, or puzza forte : 



OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE 279 

the Roman church. 75 The popes themselves have indulged 
a smile at the credulity of the vulgar; 76 but a false and 
obsolete title still sanctifies their reign ; and, by the same 
fortune which has attended the decretals and the Sibylline 
oracles, the edifice has subsisted after the foundations" have 
been undermined. 

While the popes established in Italy their freedom and 
dominion, the images, the first cause of their revolt, were 
restored in the Eastern empire. 77 Under the reign of Con- 
stantine the Fifth, the union of civil and ecclesiastical power 
had overthrown the tree, without extirpating the root, of 
superstition. The idols (for such they were now held) were 
secretly cherished by the order and the sex most prone to 
devotion ; and the fond alliance of the monks and females 
obtained a final victory over the reason and authority oi man. 
Leo the Fourth maintained with less rigor the religion of his 
father and grandfather ; but his wife, the fair and ambitious 
Irene, had imbibed the zeal of the Athenians, the heirs of 
the Idolatry, rather than the philosophy, of their ancestors. 
During the lite of her husband, these sentiments were inflamed 
by danger and dissimulation, and she could only labor to 
protect and promote some favorite monks whom she drew 
from their caverns, and seated on the metropolitan thrones 
of the East. But as soon as she reigned m her own name 
and that of her son, Irene more seriously undertook the ruin 
of the Iconoclasts ; and the first step of her future persecution 
was a general edict for liberty of conscience. In the resto- 
ration of the monks, a thousand images were exposed to the 
public veneration ; a thousand legends were invented of 
their sufferings and miracles. By the opportunities of death 

Questo era il dono (se perd dir lece) 
Che Constantino al buon Silvestro fece. 

Yet this incomparable poem has been approved by a bull of Leo X. 

» See Baionius, A. D. 324, No. 117-123, A. D. 1191, No. 51, fee The cardinal 
Wishes to suppose that Rome was offered by Constantine, and re/used by Silvester. 
The act of donation he considers, strangely enough, as a forgery of the Greeks. 

75 Baronius n'en dit gueres contre ; encore en a-t'il trop dit, et l'on vouloit 
sans moi (Card ival du Perron), qui l'empechai, censurer cette partie de son his- 
toire. J'en devisai un jour avec le Pape. et il ne me repondit autre chose " che 
volete? i Canonici la tengono," il !e disoit en Hani (Perroniana, p. 77). 

77 The remaining history of images, from Irene to Theodora, is collected, for 
the Catholics, by Baronius and Pagi (A. D. 780-840), Natalis Alexander (Hist. N. 
T seculum viii. Panoplia adversus Ha^reticos, pp. 118-178), and Pupin (Bibliot. 
Ecctes. torn. vi. pp. 136-154) ; lor the Protestants, by Spanheim (Hist Imag pp. 
305-639\ Basnage (Hist.de 1'Kglise. torn. i. pp. 556-572, torn. ii. pp. 1362-1385), and 
Mosheim (lnstitut Hist. Eccles secul. viii. et. ix.) The Protestants, except 
Mosheim, are soured with controversy ; but the Catholics, except Dupin, are in- 
flamed by the fury and superstition of the Monks ; and even Le Beau (Hist, du 
Bas Empire), a gentleman and a scholar, is infected by the odious contagion. 



280 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

or removal, the episcopal seats were judiciously filled ; the 
most eager competitors for earthly or celestial favor 
anticipated and flattered the judgment of their sovereign ; 
and the promotion of her secretary Tarasius gave Irene the 
patriarch of Constantinople, and the command of the Oriental 
church. But the decrees of a general council could only be 
repealed by a similar assembly : 78 the Iconoclasts whom she 
convened were bold in possession, and averse to debate; and 
the feeble voice of the bishops was reechoed by the more 
formidable clamor of the soldiers and people of Constanti- 
nople. The delay and intrigues of a year, the separation of 
the disaffected troops, and the choice of Nice for a second 
orthodox synod, removed these obstacles ; and the episcopal 
conscience was again, after the Greek fashion, in the hands 
of the prince. No more than eighteen days were allowed 
for the consummation of this important work : the Iconoclasts 
appeared, not as judges, but as criminnls or penitents : the 
scene was decorated by the legates of Pope Adrian and the 
Eastern patriarchs, 79 the decrees were framed by the president 
Tarasius, and ratified by the acclamations and subscriptions 
of three hundred and fifty bishops. They unanimously pro- 
nounced, that the worship of images is agreeable to Scrip- 
ture and reason, to the fathers and councils of the church: 
but they hesitate whether that worship be relative or direct; 
whether the Godhead, and the figure of Christ, be entitled 
to the same mode of adoration. Of this second Nicene 
council the acts- are still extant ; a curious monument of 
superstition and ignorance, of falsehood and folly. I shall 
only notice the judgment of the bishops on the comparative 
merit of image-worship and morality. A monk had con- 
cluded a truce with the da?mon of fornication, on condition 
of interrupting his daily prayers to a picture that hung in 
his cell. His scruples prompted him to consult the abbot. 
"Rather than abstain from adoring Christ and his Mother 
in their holy images, it would be better for you," replied the 
casuist, "to enter every brothel, and visit every prostitute, 
in the city." 80 For the honor of orthodoxy, at least the 

78 See the Acts, in Greek and Latin, of the second Council of Nice, with a 
number of relative pieces, in the viiith volume of the Councils, pp. 645—1600. A 
faithful version, with some critical notes, would provoke, in different readers, a 
sigh or a smile. 

,9 The pope's legates were casual messengers, two priests without any special 
commission, and who were disavowed on their return. Some vagabond monks 
were persuaded by the Catholics to represent the Orientul patriarchs. This 
curious anecdote is revealed by Theodore Studites (epist. i. '6S, in Sirmond. Opp. 
torn. v. p. 1310), one of the warmest Iconoclasts of the are. 

80 2u/x</>ep6i 6e <rot tirj Ka.Ta\intt.v tv t>] jroAet ravrrj nopveiov «£? 6 /at) Kiae\6j}t 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 281 

orthodoxy of the Roruan church, it is somcwh.it unfortunate, 
that the two princes who convened the two councils of Nice 
are both stained with the Hood of their sons. The second 
of these assemblies was approved and rigorously executed 
by the despotism of Irene, and she refused her adversaries 
the toleration which at first she had granted to her friends. 
During the five succeeding reigns, a period of thirty-eight 
years, the contest was maintained, with unabated rage and 
various success, between the Worshippers and the breakers 
of the images; but I am not inclined to pursi.e with minute 
diligence the repetition of the same events. Nicephorus 
allowed a general liberty of speech and practice ; and the 
only virtue of his reign is accused by the monks as the cause 
of his temporal and eternal perdition. Superstition and 
•weakness formed the character of Michael the First, but the 
saints and images were incapable of supporting their votary 
on the throne. In the purple, Leo the Fifth asserted the 
name and religion of an Armenian ; and the idols, with their 
seditious adherents, were condemned to a second exile. 
Their applause would have sanctified the murder of an im- 
pious tyrant, but his assassin and successor, the second 
Michael, was tainted from his birth with the Phrygian here- 
sies : he attempted to mediate between the contending parties ; 
and the intractable spirit of the Catholics insensibly cast him 
into the opposite scale. His moderation was guarded by 
timidity; but his son Theophilus, alike ignorant of fear and 
pity, was the last and most cruel of the Iconoclasts. The 
enthusiasm of the times ran strongly against them ; and the 
emperors who stemmed the torrent were exasperated and 
punished by the public hatred. After the death of Theophi- 
lus, the final victory of the images w r as achieved by a second 
female, his widow Theodora, whom he left the guardian of 
the empire. Her measures were bold and decisive. The 
fiction of a tardy repentance absolved the fame and the soul 
of her deceased husband ; the sentence of the Iconoclast 
patriarch was commuted from the loss of his eyes to a whip- 
ping of two hundred lashes : the bishops trembled, the 
monks shouted, and the festival of orthodoxy preserves the 
annual memory of the triumph of the images. A single 
question yet remained, whether they are endowed with any 
proper and inherent sanctity ; it was agitated by the Greeks 

t) "iva apv\)<rr) to npoaKvveiv rbv Kvpiov r\p.o>v Kai ftebv 'Irjcrovv Xptcrroi' fxera. rr)<; i6ias 

avrov p.r)Tpo<; cc el/com. These visits could not be innocent, since the Aaifxuv nop- 
vei'as (the daemon of fornication) inoAe/xci Se avrbv . . . * iv fiia ov* (Ls lit' 
net™ aurw o<})68pa, &c. Actio iv. p. 901, Actio v. p. 1031. 



282 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the eleventh century ; 81 and as this opinion has the 
strongest recommendation of absurdity, I am surprised that 
it was not more explicitly decided in the affirmative. In 
the West, Pope Adrian the First accepted and announced 
the decrees of the Nicene assembly, which is now revered 
by the Catholics as the seventh in rank of the general coun- 
cils. Rome and Italy were docile to the voice of their 
father ; but the greatest part of the Latin Christians Mere 
far behind in the race of superstition. The churches of 
France, Germany, England, and Spain, steered a middle 
course between the adoration and the destruction of images, 
which they admitted into their temples, not as objects of 
worship, but as lively and useful memorials of faith and his- 
tory. An angry book of controversy was composed and 
published in the name of Charlemagne : 8 ' 2 under his author- 
ity a synod of three hundred bishops was assembled at 
Frankfort : 83 they blamed the fury of the Iconoclasts, but 
they pronounced a more severe censure against the super- 
stition of the Greeks, and the decrees of their pretended 
council, which was long despised by the Barbarians of the 
West. 84 Among them the worship of images advanced with 
a silent and insensible progress ; but a large atonement is 
made for their hesitation and delay, by the gross idolatry of 
the ages which precede the reformation, and of the countries, 
both in Europe and America, which are still immersed in 
the gloom of superstition. 

It was after the Nicene synod, and under the reign of 
the pious Irene, that the popes consummated the separation 
of Rome and Italy, by the translation of the empire to the 
less orthodox Charlemagne. They were compelled to choose 
between the rival nations : religion was not the sole motive 
of their choice ; and while they dissembled the failings of 

81 See an account of this controversy in the Alexius of Anna Comnena (1. v. p. 
129), and Mosheim (Institut. Hist. Eccles. pp. 371, 372). 

8 - The Libri Carolini (Spanheim, pp. 443-529), composed in the palace or winter 
quarters ot Charlemagne, at Worms, A. D- 790, and sent by Engebert to Pope 
Hadrian I., who answered them by a grandis et verbosa epistola (Concil. torn. viii. 
p. 1553). The Carolines propose 120 objections against the Nicene synod, and such 
words as these are the flowers ot their rhetoric — Dementiam * * * priscte Gentil- 
itatis obsoletum errorem * * * argumenta insanissima et absurdissiina * * * de- 
risione dignas naenias, &c, &c. 

83 The assemblies of Charlemagne were political, as well as ecclesiastical ; and 
the three hundred members (Nat. Alexander, sec. viii. p. 53), who sat and voted 
at Frankfort, must include not only the bishops, but the abbots, and even the 
principal laymen. 

84 Qui supra sanctissima patres nostri (episcopi et sacerdotes) omnimodis ser- 
vitium et adorationem imaginum renuentes contempserunt, atque consentientes 
condemnaverunt (Concil. torn. ix. p. 101, Canon, ii. Franckfurd). A polemic must 
be hard-hearted indeed, who does not pity the efforts of Baronius, Pagi, Alex« 
ander, Maimbourg, &c, vo elude this unlucky bentence. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 283 

tncir friends, they beheld, with reluctance and suspicion, the 
Catholic virtues of their foes. The difference of language 
and manners had perpetuated the enmity of the two capi- 
tals; and they were alienated from each other by the hostile 
opposition of seventy years. In that schism the Romans 
had tasted of freedom, and the popes of sovereignty : their 
submission would have exposed them to the revenge of a 
jealous tyrant ; and the revolution of Italy had betrayed 
the impotence, as well as the tyranny, of the Byzantine 
court. The Greek emperors had restored the images, but 
they had not restored the Calabrian estates 85 and the Ulyrian 
diocese, 86 which the Iconoclasts had torn away from the suc- 
cessors of St. Peter ; and Pope Adrian threatens them with 
a sentence of excommunication unless they speedily abjure 
this practical heresy. 87 The Greeks were now orthodox ; but 
their religion might be tainted by the breath of the reigning 
monarch : the Franks were now contumacious; but a dis- 
cerning eye might discern their approaching conversion, 
from the use, to the adoration, of images. The mime of 
Charlemagne was stained by the polemic acrimony of his 
scribes ; but the conqueror himself conformed, with the tem- 
per of a statesman, to the various practice of France and 
Italy. In his four pilgrimages or visits to the Vatican, lie 
embraced the popes in the communion of friendship and 
piety; knelt before the tomb, and consequently before the 
image, of the apostle; and joined, without scruple, in all 
the prayers and processions ot the Roman liturgy. Would 
prudence or gratitude allow the pontiffs to renounce their 
benefactor ? Had they a right to alienate his gift of the 
Exarchate ? Had they power to abolish his government of 
Rome? The title of patrician was below the merit and 

8 " Theophanes (p. 343) specifies those of Sicily and Calabria, which yielded an 
annual rent of three talents and a half of gold (perhaps 7000/. sterling). Liut- 




. - by the injustic 
Rerum Jtalicarum, toin. ii. pars i. p. 431). 

M The great diocese of the Eastern Illyricutn, with Apulia, Calabria, and 
Sicily (Thomassln, Discipline de PEglise, torn. i. p. 145) : by the confession of the 
Greeks, the patriarch of Constantinople had detached from Rome the metropoli- 
tans of Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth. Nicopolis. and Patras (Luc. Holsten. Geo- 
graph. Sacra, p. 22) ; and his spiritual conquests extended to Naples and Amalphi 
(Giannone, Istoria Civile di Napoli, torn. i. pp. 517-524, Pagi, A. I). 730, No. 11). 

87 In hoc ostenditur, quia ex uno capitulo ab errore reversis, in aliis duobus, 
in eorfetn (was it the same ?) permaneant errore * * * * de diocesi S. R. E. seu de 
patrimoniis iterum increpantes comrnonemus, ut si earestituere noluerit hereti- 
cum eum pro huiusmodi errore persevermtia decernemus (Epist. Hadrian. Papse 
ad Carolum Magnum, in Concil. torn. viii. p. 1598) ; to which he adds a reason, 
most directly opposite to his conduct, that, he preferred the salvation of souls 
and rule of faith to the goods of this transitory world. 



284 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

greatness of Charlemagne ; and it was only by reviving the 
Western empire that they conld pay their obligations 
or secure their establishment. By this decisive measure 
they would finally eradicate the claims of the Greeks; from 
the debasement of a provincial town, the majesty of Rome 
would be restored : the Latin Christians would be united, 
under a supreme head, in their ancient metropolis; and the 
conquerors of the West would receive their crown from the 
successors of St. Peter. The Roman church would acquire 
a zealous and respectable advocate ; and, under the shadow 
of the Carlovingian power, the bishop might exercise, with 
honor and safety, the government of the city, 88 

Before the ruin of Paganism in Rome, the competition 
for a wealthy bishopric had often been productive of tumult 
and bloodshed. The people was less numerous, but the 
times were more savage, the prize more important, and the 
chair of St. Peter was fiercely disputed by the leading 
ecclesiastics who aspired to the rank of sovereign. The 
reign of Adrian the First 89 surpasses the measure of past 
or succeeding ages ; 90 the walls of Rome, the sacred patri- 
mony, the ruin of the Lombards, and the friendship of 
Charlemagne, were the trophies of his fame : he secretly 
edified the throne of his successors, and displayed in a nar- 
row space the virtues of a great prince. His memory was 
revered ; but in the next election, a priest of the Lateran, 
Leo the Third, was preferred to the nephew and the favorite 
of Adrian, whom he had promoted to the first dignities of 
the church. Their acquiescence or repentance disguised, 
above* four years, the blackest intention of revenge, till the 
day of a procession, when a furious band of conspirators 
dispersed the unarmed multitude, and assaulted with blows 
attd wounds the sacred person of the pope. But their enter- 

88 Fontanini considers the emperors as no more than the advocates of the 
church (advocatus et defensor S. R. E. See Dueange, Gloss. Lat. torn. i. p. 2^7). 
His antagonist Muratori reduces the popes to he no more than the exarchs of the 
emperor, in the more equitable view of Mosheim (Institut. Hist. Eccles. pp. 
2G4, 265), they held Kome under the empire as the most honorable species of rief 
or benefice— premuntur nocte caligino^a ! 

89 His merits and hopes are summed up in an epitaph of thirty-eight vers-.., 
of which Charlemagne declares himself the author (Concil. torn. viii. p. 520). 

Postparrem lacrymans Carolns hrec carmina scripsi. 
Tu mihi dulcis amor, te modo pi an go pater * * * 
Nomina jungo simul titulis. clarissime, nostra 
Adrianus, Carolus, rex ego, tuque pater. 

The poetry might be supplied by Alcuin ; but the tears, the most glorious tribute, 
can only belong to Charlemagne. 

90 Every new pope is admonished— Saucte Pater, non videbis annos Petri." 
twenty-five years. On the whole series the average is about eight years— a short 
hope for an ambitious cardinal. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 285 

prise on bis life or liberty was disappointed, perhaps by 
their own confusion and remorse. Leo was left for dead on 
the ground . on his revival from the swoon, the effect of his 
loss of blood, he recovered his speech and sight ; and this 
natural event was improved to the miraculous restoration of 
his eyes and tongue, of which he had been deprived, twice 
deprived, by the knife of the assassins. 91 From his prison 
he escaped to the Vatican : the duke of Spoleto hastened to 
his rescue, Charlemagne sympathized in his injury, and in his 
camp of Paderborn in Westphalia accepted, or solicited, a 
visit from the Roman pontiff. Leo repassed the Alps with 
a commission of counts and bishops, the guards of his safety 
and the judges of his innocence ; and it was not without 
reluctance, that the conqueror of the Saxons delayed till the 
ensuing year the personal discharge of this pious oflice. Jn 
his fourth and last pilgrimage, he was received at Rome 
with the due honors of king and patrician : Leo was per- 
mitted to purge himself by oath of the crimes imputed to 
his charge : his enemies were silenced, and the sacrilegious 
attempt against his life was punished by the mild and insuf- 
ficient penalty of exile. On the festival of Christmas, the 
last year of the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in 
the church of St. Peter ; and, to gratify the vanity of Rome, 
he had exchanged the simple dress of his country for the 
habit of a patrician. 92 After the celebration of the holy 
mysteries, Leo suddenly placed a precious crown on his 
head, 93 and the dome resounded with the reclamations of 
the people, "Long life and victory to Charles, the most 
pious Augustus, crowned by God the great and pacific em- 
peror of the Romans ! " The head and body of Charle- 
magne were consecrated by the royal unction : after the 

91 The assurance of Anastasius (torn. iii. parsi. pp. 107, 108) is supported by 
the credulity of some French annalists ; but. Eginhard, and other writers of the 
same age, are more natural and sincere. " Unus ei oculus paulhilum est lapsus." 
says John the deacon of Naples (Vit. Episcop. Napol. in Scriptores JMuratori, 
torn. i. pars. ii. p. 312}. Theodolphus, a contemporary bishop of Orleans, ob- 
serves with prudence (1. iii. cann. 3), 

Keddita sunt? mirnm est : mitum est auferre nequisse. 
Est tamen in dubio, bine mirer an inde niagis. 

52 Twice, at the request of Hadrian and Leo, he appeared at T ome — longa 
tunica et chlamyde amictus, et calceamentis quoque Romano more formatis. 
Eginhard (c. xxiii. pp. 109-113) describes, like Suetonius, the simplicity of his 
dress, so popular in the nation, that when Charles the Bald returned to France 
in a foreign habit, the patriotic dogs barked at the apostate (Gaillard, Vie de 
Charlemagne, torn. iv. p. 109). 

y:l See Anasta-ius (p. 199) and Eginhard (c. xxviii. pp.!24-12K). The unction is 
mentioned by Theophanes (p. 399), the oath by Sigonius (from the Ordo Roman us), 
and the Pope's adoration, more antiquorum priucipuin, by the Anuales Bert- 
iuiani (Script. Murator. torn. ii. pars ii. p. 505). 



286 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

example of the Caesars, he was saluted or adored by the 
pontiff ; his coronation oath represents a promise to main- 
tain the faith and privileges of the church ; and the first- 
fruits were paid in his rich offerings to the shrine of the 
apostle. In his familiar conversation, the emperor protested 
his ignorance of the intentions of Leo, which he would have 
disappointed by his absence on that memorable day. But 
the preparations of the ceremony must have disclosed the 
secret ; and the journey of Charlemagne reveals his knowl- 
edge and expectation : he had acknowledged that the Im- 
perial title was the object of his ambition, and a Roman 
synod had pronounced, that it was the only adequate reward 
of his merit and services. 94 

The appellation of great has been often bestowed, and 
sometimes deserved ; but Charlemagne is the only prince 
in whose favor the title has been indissolubly blended with 
the name. That name, with the addition of saint, is inserted 
in the Roman calendar ; and the saint, by a rare felicity, is 
crowned with the praises of the historians and philosophers 
of an enlightened age. 95 His real merit is doubtless enhanced 
by the barbarism of the nation and the times from which he 
emerged : but the apparent magnitude of an object is like- 
wise enlarged by an unequal comparison ; and the ruins of 
Palmyra derive a casual splendor from the nakedness of the 
surrounding desert. Without injustice to his fame, I may 
discern some blemishes in the sanctity and greatness of the 
restorer of the Western empire. Of his moral virtues, 
chastity is not the most conspicuous: 96 but the public hap- 
piness could not be materially injured by his nine wives or 
concubines, the various indulgence of meaner or more tran- 
sient amours, the multitude of his bastards whom he be- 
stowed on the church, and the long celibacy and licentious 

64 This great event of the translation or restoration of the empire is related 
and discussed by Natalis Alexander (secul. ix. dissert, i. pp. 390-397), Pagi (torn, 
iii. p. 418), Muratori (Annali d'ltalia, torn. vi. pp. 339-352), Sigonius (de Regno 
Italiae, 1. lv. Opp. torn ii. pp. 247-251), Spanheim (de licta Translatione Imperii), 
Giannone (torn. i. pp. 395-405), St. Marc (Abrege Chronologique, torn. i. pp. 438- 
450), Gaillard (Hist, de Charlemagne, torn. ii. pp. 386-446). Almost all these 
moderns have some religious or national bias. 

'-■ 5 By Mably (Observations sur l'Histoire de France), Voltaire (Histoire Gene- 
rale), Robertson (History of Charles V.), and Montesquieu (Lsprit des Loix 1. 
xxxi. c. 18). In the year 1782, M. Gaillard published his Histoire de Charle- 
magne (in 4 vols, in 12 mo.), which I have freely and m olit- bly u ed. The author 
is a man of sense and humanity; and his work is labored with industry and 
elegance. But I have likewise examined the original monuments of the reigns 
of Pepin and Charlemagne, in the 5th volume of the Historians of France. 

<jG The vision of Wcltin, composed by a monk, eleven years after the death of 
Charlemagne, 6hows him in purgatory, with a vulture, who is perpetually gnaw- 
ing the guilty member, while the rest of his bodv, the emblem of his virtues, is 
sound and perfect (see Gaillard, torn. ii. pp. 317-360). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. '287 

manners of his daughters, 97 whom the father was suspected 
of loving with too fond a passion.* I shall be scarcely per- 
mitted to accuse the ambition of a conqueror; but in a day 
of equal retribution, the sons of his brother Carloman, the 
Merovingian princes of Aquitajn, and the four thousand live 
hundred Saxons who were beheaded on the same spot, would 
have something to allege against the justice and humanity 
of Charlemagne. His treatment of the vanquished Saxons y8 
was an abuse of the right of conquest; his laws were not 
less sanguinary than his arms, and in the discussion of his 
motives, whatever is subtracted from bigotry must be im- 
puted to temper. The sedentary reader is amazed by his 
incessant activity of mind and body; and his subjects and 
enemies were not less astonished at his sudden presence, at 
the moment when they believed him at the most distant ex- 
tremity of the empire ; neither peace nor war, nor summer 
nor winter, were a season of repose ; and our fancy cannot 
easily reconcile the annals of his reign with the geography 
of his expeditions.! But this activity was a national, rather 
than a personal, virtue ; the vagrant life of a Frank was 
spent in the chase, in pilgrimage, in military adventures ; 
and the journeys of Charlemagne were distinguished only 
by a more numerous train and a more important purpose. 

9 ? The marriage of Eginhard with Tmma, daughter of Charlemagne, is, in my 
opinion, sufficiently refuted by the probrum and suspicio that sullied these fair 
damsels, without excepting his own wife (c. xix. pp. 98—100, cum Notis 
Schmineke). The husband must have been too strong for the historian. 

lJri Besides the massacres and transmigrations, the pain of death was pro- 
nounced against the following crimes : 1. The refusal of baptism. 2. The false 
pretence of baptism. S. A relapse to idolatry. 4. The murder of a priest or 
bishop. 5. Human sacrifices. 6. Eating meat in Lent. But every crime might 
be expiated by baptism or penance (Gaillard.tom. ii. pp. 211-247) ; and the Christ- 
ian Saxons became the friends and equals of the Franks (Struv. Corpus Hist. 
Germanicae, p. 133). 



* This charge of incest, as Mr. Hallam justly observes, " seems to have origi- 
nated in a misinterpreted passage of Eginhard." Hallam's Middle Ages, vol. i. 
p. 16.— M. 

t M. Guizot (Cours d'Histoire Moderne, pp. 270--273) has compiled the follow- 
ing statement of Charlemagne's military campaigns : — 
1. Against the Aquitanians. 



18. 


.« 


the Saxons. 


5. 


it 

• 


the Lombards. 


7. 


.< 


the Arabs in Spain. 


1. 


<• 


the Thuringians. 


4. 


<( 


the Avars. 


2. 


It 


the Bretons. 


1. 


II 


the Bavarians. 


4. 


U 


the Slaves beyond the Elbe. 


5. 


l< 


the Saracens in Italy. 


3. 


H 


the Danes. 


2. 


II 
u 


the Greeks. 


63 total.- 


-M. 



288 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

His military renown must be tried by the scrutiny of his 
troops, his enemies, and his actions. Alexander conquered 
with the arms of Philip, but the two heroes who preceded 
Charlemagne bequeathed him their name, their examples, 
and the companions of their victories. At the head of his 
veteran and superior armies, he oppressed the savage or de- 
generate nations, who were incapable of confederating for 
their common safety : nor did he ever encounter an equal 
antagonist in numbers, in discipline, or in arms. The science 
of war has been lost and revived with the arts of peace ; but 
his campaigns are not illustrated by any seige or battle of 
singular difficulty and success ; and he might behold, with 
envy, the Saracen trophies of his grandfather. After the 
Spanish expedition, his rear-guard was defeated in the 
Pyrena^an mountains; and the soldiers, whose situation was 
irretrievable, and whose valor was useless, might accuse, 
with their last breath, the want of skill or caution of their 
general. 09 I touch with reverence the laws of Charlemagne, 
so highly applauded by a respectable judge. They compose 
not a system, but a series, of occasional and minute edicts, 
for the correction of abuses, the reformation of manners, the 
economy of his farms, the care of his poultry, and even the 
sale of his eggs. He wished to improve the laws and the 
character of the Franks ; and his attempts, however feeble 
and imperfect, are deserving of praise : the inveterate evils 
of the times were suspended or mollified by his govern- 
ment ; 10 ° but in his institutions I can seldom discover the 
general views and the immortal spirit of a legislator, who 
survives himself for the benefit of posterity. The union 
and stability of his empire depended on the life of a single 
man: he imitated the dangerous practice of dividing his 
kingdoms among his sons ; and after his numerous diets, the 
whole constitution was left to fluctuate between the disor- 
ders of anarchy and despotism. His esteem for the piety 
and knowledge of the clergy, tempted him to intrust that 
aspiring order with temporal dominion and civil jurisdic- 
tion ; and his son Lewis, when he was stripped and degraded 

99 In this action the famous Rutland, Rolando, Orlando, was slain— cum com- 
pluribus aliis. See the truth in Eginhard (c. 9, pp. 51-56), and the fable in an in- 
genious Supplement of M. Gaillara (torn. iii. p. 474). The Spaniaids are too proud 
of a victory, which history ascribes to the Gascons,* and romance to the Sara- 
cens. 

M > Yet Schmidt, from the best authorities, represents the interior disorders 
and oppression of his reign (Hist, des Allemands. torn. ii. pp. 45 — 4i>). 



* In fact it was a sudden onset of the Gascons, assisted by the Basque moun- 
taineers, aoid possibly a tew Navarrese.— JYI. 



OF THE liOMAN EMPIRE. 



289 



by the oisnops, might accuse, in some measure, the .mpru- 
dence of his father. His laws enforced the imposition of 
tithes, because the daemons had proclaimed in the air that 
the default of payment had been the cause of the last scar- 
city. 101 The literary merits of Charlemagne are attested by 
the foundation of schools, the introduction of arts, the works 
which were published in his name, and his familiar connec- 
tion with the subjects and strangers whom he invited to his 
court to educate both the prince and people. His own 
studies were tardy, laborious, and imperfect; if he spoke 
Latin, and understood Greek, he derived the rudiments of 
knowledge from conversation, rather than from books; and, 
in his mature age, the emperor strove to acquire the practice 
of writing, which every peasant now learns in his infancy. 102 
The grammar and logic, the music and astronomy, of the 
times, were only cultivated as the handmaids of supersti- 
tion ; but the curiosity of the human mind must ultimately 
tend to its improvement, and the encouragement of learning 
reflects the purest and most pleasing lustre on the character 
of Charlemagne. 103 The dignity of his person, 104 the length 
of his reign, the prosperity of his arms, the vigor of his gov- 
ernment, and the reverence of distant nations, distinguish 
him from the royal crowd ; and Europe dates a new a3ra 
from his restoration of the Western empire. 

That empire was not unworthy of its title; 103 and some 

m Omnis homo ex sua proprietate legitimam decimam a<l ecelesiam cohferat. 
Experiment*) enim didicimus, in anno, quo ilia vulida fames irrensit, ebullire 
vacuas annouas a d&monibua devoratas, et voces ex.probrationis auditas. Such is 
the decree and assertion of the great Council of Frankfort (canon xxv. torn. ix. 
p. 105). Both Seidell (Hist, of Tithes : Works, vol. iii. pat ii. p. l U(i) and Mon- 
tesquieu (Esprit des Loix, 1. xxxi. c. 12) represent Charlemagne as the first legal 
author of tithes- Such obligation-; have country gentlemen to his Memory ! 

1,2 Eginhard (e. 25, p. 119) clearly affirms, tentabat et scribe re * * Bed parum 
pfospere successit labor praepo.-derus et sero inchoatus. The moderns have per- 
vected and corrected this ol>vious meaning, and the title of M. Gai Hard's disser- 
tation (torn, iii. pp. 247-26')) betravs his partiality * 

» 03 See Gaillard, torn. iii. pp. 138 176. and Schmidt, torn. ii. pp. 121-129. 

101 M. Gaillard (torn. iii. p. 372) fixes the true stature of Charlemagne (see a 
Dissertation of Marquard Preher ad calcem Eginhart, p. 220, &c.) at five feet nine 
inches of French, about six feet one inch and a fourth English, measure. The 
romance writers have increased it to eight feet, and the giant was endowed with 
matchless strength and appetite : at a single stroke of his good sword Jm/euse, ho 
cut asunder a horseman and his horse ; at a single repast, he devoured a goose, 
two fowls, a quarter of mutton, &c. 

1,J See the concise, but correct and original, work of D'Anville (F.tats Formes 
en Europe apres la Chute de TEmpire Komain en Occident, Paris. 1771, in 4to.), 
whose map includes the empire of Charlemagne ; the different parts are illus- 



* This point has been contested ; but Mr. Hallam and Monsieur Sismondi 
concur with Gibbon. See Middle Ages, iii. 330. Histoire de Franyais, torn ii. p. 
318. The sensible observations of the latter are quoted in the Quarterly Review, 
vol. xlviii. p. 451. Fleury, 1 may add, quotes from Mabillon a remarkable evi- 
dence that Charlemagne " had a mark to himself, like an honest, plain dealing 
man." Ibid— M. 

Vol. IV.— 19 



290 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of the fairest kingdoms of Europe were the patrimony or 
conquest of a prince, who reigned at the same time in France, 
Spain, Italy, Germany, and Hungary. 106 I. The Roman 
province of Gaul had been transformed into the name and 
monarchy of France ; but, in the decay of the Merovingian 
line, its limits were contracted by the independence of the 
Jjritons and the revolt of Aquitain. Charlemagne pur- 
sued, and confined, the Britons on the shores of the 
ocean ; and that ferocious tribe, whose origin and lan- 
guage are so different from the French, was chastised 
by the imposition of tribute, hostages, and peace. After 
a long and evasive contest, the rebellion of the dukes 
of Aquitain was punished by the forfeiture of their prov- 
ince, their liberty, and their lives. Harsh and rigor- 
ous would have been such treatment of ambitious gover- 
nors, who had too faithfully copied the mayors of the pal- 
ace. But a recent discovery 107 has proved that these 
unhappy princes were the last and lawful heirs of the blood 
and sceptre of Clovis, a younger branch, from the brother of 
Dagobert, of the Merovingian house. Their ancient king- 
dom was reduced to the duchy of Gascogne, to the counties 
of Fesenzac and Armagnac, at the foot of the Pyrenees : 
their race was propagated till the beginning of the sixteenth 
century ; and after surviving their Carlovingian tyrants, 
they were reserved to feel the injustice, or the favors of a 
third dynasty. By the reunion of Aquitain, France was en- 
larged to its present boundaries, with the additions of the 
Netherlands and Spain, as far as the Rhine. II. The Sara- 
cens had been expelled from France by the grandfather and 
father of Charlemagne ; but they still possessed the greatest 
part of Spain, from the rock of Gibraltar to the Pyrenees. 
Amidst their civil divisions, an Arabian emir of Saragossa 
implored his protection in the diet of Paderborn. Charle- 
magne undertook the expedition, restored the emir, and, 
without distinction of faith impartially crushed the resistance 

trated. by Yalesius (Notitia Galliarum) for France, Beretti (Dissertatio Choro, 
graphical for Italy, De Marca (Marca Hispanica) for Spain. For tlie middle 
geography of Germany, I confess myself poor and destitute. 

^ After a brief relation of his wars and conquests (Vit. Carol, c. 5-14), Egiiu 
hard recapitulates, in a few words (c. 15). the countries subject lo his empire, 
Struvins (Corpus Hist. German, pp. 118-149) has inserted in his Notes the texts of 
the old Chronicles. 

107 Of a charter granted to the monastery of Alaon (A D. 845" 1 bv Charles the 
Bald, whkh deduces this royal pedigree. I doubt whether some subsequent 
links of the ixth and xth centuries are equally firm ; yet the whole is approyed 
and defended by M. Gaiilard (torn. ii. pp. 60-81, 203-206), who affirms that the 
faoiily of Montesquieu (not of the President de Montesquieu) is descended, in 
the female line, from Clotaire and Clovis— an innocent pretension ! 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 291 

of the Christians, and rewarded the obedience and service 
of the Mahometans. In his absence he instituted the 
fipanis/i march™* which extended from the Pyrenees to the 
River Ebro : Barcelona was the residence of the French 
governor: he possessed the counties of Rousillon and Cata- 
lonia ; and the infant kingdoms of Navarre and Arragon 
were subject to his jurisdiction. III. As king of the Lom- 
bards, and patrician of Rome, he reigned over the greatest 
part of Italy, 109 a tract of a thousand miles from the Alps 
to the borders of Calabria. The duchy of tteneventum, a 
Lombard fief, had spread, at the expense of the Greeks, over 
the modern kingdom of Naples. But Arrechis, the reign- 
ing duke, refused to be included in the slavery of his coun- 
try ; assumed the independent title of prince ; and opposed 
his sword to the Carlovingian monarchy. His defence was 
firm, his submission was not inglorious, and the emperor 
was content with an easy tribute, the demolition of his for- 
tresses, and the acknowledgment, on his coins, of a supreme 
lord. The artful flattery of his son Grimoald added the 
appellation of father, but he asserted his dignity with pru- 
dence, and Beneventum insensibly escaped from the French 
yoke. 110 IV. Charlemagne was the first who united Ger- 
many under the same sceptre. The name of Oriental 
France is preserved in the circle of Franconia ; and the 
people of Hesse and Thuringia were recently incorporated 
with the victors, by the conformity of religion and govern- 
ment. The Alemanni, so formidable to the Romans, were 
the faithful vassals and confederates of the Franks ; and their 
country was inscribed within the modern limits of Alsace, 
Swabia, and Switzei'land, The Bavarians, with a similar 
indulgence of their laws and manners, were less patient of 
a master : the repeated treasons of Tasillo justified the 
abolition of their hereditary dukes ; and their power was 
shared among the counts, who judged and guarded that im- 
portant frontier. But the north of Germany, from the 
Rhine and beyond the Elbe, was still hostile and Pagan ; 
nor was it till after a war of thirty-three years that the 
Saxons bowed under the yoke of Christ and of Charlemagne. 

108 The governors or counts of the Spanish march revolted from Charles th3 
Simple about the year 900 ; and a poor pittance, the Rousiilon, has been recov- 
ered in 1642 by the kings of France (homzuerue, Description de la France, torn, i. 
pp. 220-222). Yet the Rousillon contains 188,900 subjects, and annually pays 
2,600,000 livres (Necker, Administration des Finances, torn. i. pp. 278, 279) ; more 
people, perhaps, and doubtless more money than the march of Charlemagne, 

109 Schmidt, Hist- des Allemands, torn. ii. p. 200, &c. 

110 SeeGiannone, torn. i. pp. 374, 375, and the Annals of Muratori. 



292 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

The idols and their votaries were extirpated : the founda- 
tion of eight bishoprics, of Minister, Osnaburgh, Paderborn, 
and Minden, of Bremen, Verden, Hildesheim, and Halber- 
stadt, define, on either side of the Weser, the bounds of 
ancient Saxony ; these episcopal seats were the first schools 
and cities of that savage land ; and the religion and human- 
ity of the children atoned, in some degree, for the massacre 
of the parents. Beyond the Elbe, the Slavi, or Sclavonians, 
of similar manners and various denominations, overspread 
the modern dominions of Prussia, Poland, and Bohemia, 
and some transient marks of obedience have tempted the 
French historian to extend the empire to the Baltic and the 
Vistula. The conquest or conversion of those countries is 
of a more recent age ; but the first union of Bohemia with 
the Germanic body may be justly ascribed to the arms of 
Charlemagne. V. He retaliated on the Avars, or Huns of 
Pannonia, the same calamities which they had inflicted on 
the nations. Their rings, the wooden fortifications which 
encircled their districts and villages, were broken down by 
the triple effort of a French army, that was poured into 
their country by land and water, through the Carpathian 
mountains and along the plain of the Danube. After a 
bloody conflict of eight years, the loss of some French gen- 
erals was avenged by the slaughter of the most noble Huns : 
the relics of the nation submitted : the royal residence of 
the chagan was left desolate and unknown ; and the treas- 
ures, the rapine of two hundred and fifty years, enriched 
the victorious troops, or decorated the churches of Italy 
and Gaul. 111 After the reduction of Pannonia, the empire 
of Charlemagne was bounded only by the conflux of the 
Danube with the Teyss and Save : the provinces of Istria, 
Liburnia, and Dalmatia, were an easy, though unprofitable, 
accession ; and it was an effect of his moderation, that he 
left the maritime cities under the real or nominal sovereignty 
of the Greeks. But these distant possessions added more 
to the reputation than to the power of the Latin emperor ; 
nor did he risk any ecclesiastical foundations to reclaim the 
Barbarians from their vagrant life and idolatrous worship. 
Some canals of communication betw r een the rivers, the 
Saone and the Meuse, the Khine and the Danube, were 

111 Quot prselia in eo gesta ! quantum sanguinis effusum sit ! Testntur vacua 
orani habitatione Pannonia. et locus in quo regia Cagani fuit ita desertus. ut ne 
vestigium quidem humanae habitationis appareat. Tota in hoc bello Hunnorum 
nobilitan periit, tota gloria decidit, omnia pecunia et congesti ex longo tempore 
thesauri direpti sunt. Eginhard, cxiii. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 293 

faintly attempted. 112 Their execution would have vivified 
tht, empire ; and more cost and labor were often wasted in 
the structure of a cathedral.* 

If we retrace the outlines of this geographical picture, it 
will be seen that the empire of the Franks extended, be- 
tween east and west, from the Ebro to the Elbe or Vis- 
tula; between the north and south, from the duchy of Benc- 
ventum to the River Eyder, the perpetual boundary of Ger- 
many and Denmark. The personal and political importance 
of Charlemagne was magnified by the distress and division 
of the rest of Europe. The islands of Great Britain and 
Ireland were disputed by a crowd of princes of Saxon or 
Scottish origin : and, after the loss of Spain, the Christian 
and Gothic kingdom of Alphonso the Chaste was confined 
to the narrow range of the Asturian mountains. These 
petty sovereigns revered the power or virtue of the Carlo- 
vingian monarch, implored the honor and support of his 
alliance, and styled him their common parent, the sole and 
supreme emperor of the West. 113 lie maintained a more 
equal intercourse with the caliph Harun al llaschid, 114 whose 
dominion stretched from Africa to India, and accepted from 
Ins ambassadors a tent, a water-clock, an elephant, and the 
keys of the Holy Sepulchre. It is not easy to conceive 
the private friendship of a Frank and an Arab, who were 
strangers to each other's person, and language, and religion ; 
but their public correspondence was founded on vanity, and 
their remote situation left no room for a competition of in- 
terest. Two-thirds of the Western empire of Rome were 
subject to Charlemagne, and the deficiency was amply sup- 
plied by his command of the inaccessible or invincible 
nations of Germany. But in the choice of his enemies,! we 

112 The junction of the Rhine and Danube was undertaken only for the service 
of the Pannonian war (Gaillard, Vie de Charlemagne, to in. ii. pp. 312-315). The 
canal, which would have been only two leagues in length, and of which some 
traces are still extant in Swabia, was interrupted by excessive rains, military 
avocations, and superstitious fears (Schaeprlin, Hist, de I'Academie des Inscrip- 
tions, torn, xviii. p. 256. Molimina fiuviorum, &c, jungendorum, pp. 59-62). 

113 See Eginhard, c. 16, and Gaillard, torn. ii. pp. 361-385, who mentions, with 
a loose reverence, the intercourse of Charlemagne and Egbert, the emperor's gilt 
of his own sword, and the modest answer of his Saxon disciple. The anecdote, 
if genuine, would have adorned our English histories. 

114 The correspondence is mentioned only in the French annals, and the 
Orientals are ignorant of the caliph's friendship for the Christian dog— a polite 
appella ion, which Harun bestows on the emperorof the Greeks. 



* I should doubt this in the time of Charlemagne, even if the term " ex- 
pended " were substituted for " wasted." — M. 

t Had he the choice? M. Guizot has eloquently described the position of 
Charlemagne towards the Saxons. II y fit face par la conquete; la guerre defen- 
sive prit la forme offensive ; il transports la lutte sur le territoire dea peuples 



294 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

may be reasonably surprised that he so often preferred the 
poverty of the north to the riches of the south. The three- 
and-thirty campaigns laboriously consumed in the woods 
and morasses of Germany would have sufficed to assert the 
amplitude of his title by the expulsion of the Greeks from 
Italy and the Saracens from Spain. The weakness of the 
Greeks would have insured an easy victory ; and the holy 
crusade against the Saracens would have been prompted by 
glory and revenge, and loudly justified by religion and 
policy. Perhaps, in his expeditions beyond the Rhine and 
the Elbe, he aspired to save his monarchy from the fate of 
the Roman empire, to disarm the enemies of civilized 
society, and to eradicate the seed of future emigrations. 
But it has been wisely observed, that, in a light of precau- 
tion, all conquest must be ineffectual, unless it could be 
universal, since the increasing circle must be involved m a 
larger sphere of hostility. 115 The subjugation of Germany 
withdrew the veil which had so Ions* concealed the continent 
or islands of Scandinavia from the knowledge of Europe, 
and awakened the torpid courage of their barbarous natives. 
The fiercest of the Saxon idolaters escaped from the Chris- 
tian tyrant to their brethren of the North ; the Ocean and 
Mediterranean were covered with their piratical fleets ; and 
Charlemagne beheld with a sigh the destructive progress of 
the Normans, who, in less than seventy years, precipitated 
the fall of his race and monarchy. 

Had the pope and the Romans revived the primitive 
constitution, the titles of emperor and Augustus were con- 
ferred on Charlemagne for the term of his life; and his 
successors, on each vacancy, must have ascended the throne 
by a formal or tacit election. But the association of his 
son Lewis the Pious asserts the independent right of mon- 
archy and conquest, and the emperor seems on this oc- 
casion to have foreseen and prevented the latent claims 
of the clergy. The royal youth was commanded to take 
the crown from the altar, and with his own hands to 
place it on his head, as a gift which he held from God, his 

»5 Gaillard, torn. ii. pp. 361-365, 471-476, 492. I have borrowed his judicious re- 
marks on Charlemagne's plan of conquest, and the judicious distinction of his 
enemies of the lirst and the second enciente (torn. ii. pp. 184, 509, &c). 



qui voulaient envahir le sieu : il travailla a asservir les races etrangeres, et ex- 
tirper les croyances ennemies. De la son mode degouvernement et la fondation 
de son empire : la guerre offensive etlaconquete voulaient cette vaste et redout- 
able unite. Compare observations in the Quarterly Review, vol. xlviii., and 
James's Life of Charlemagne.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 295 

father, and the nation. 116 The same ceremony was re- 
peated, though with less energy, in the subsequent associa- 
tions of Lothaire and Lewis the Second ; the Carlovingian 
sceptre was transmitted from father to son in a lineal de- 
scent of four generations : and the ambition of the popes 
was reduced to the empty honor of crowning and anoint- 
ing these hereditary princes, who were already invested 
with their power and dominions. The pious Lewis sur- 
vived his brothers, and embraced the whole empire of 
Charlemagne; but the nations and the nobles, his bishops 
and his children, quickly discerned that this mighty mass 
was no longer inspired by the same soul ; and the founda- 
tions were undermined to the centre, while the external 
surface was yet fair and entire. After a war, or battle, 
which consumed one hundred thousand Franks, the empire 
was divided by treaty between his three sons, who had vio- 
lated every filial and fraternal duty. The kingdoms of 
Germany and France were forever separated ; the provinces 
of Gaul, between the Rhone and the Alps, the Mouse and 
the Rhine, were assigned, with Italy, to the Imperial dig- 
nity of Lothaire. In the partition of his share, Lorraine 
and Aries, two recent and transitory kingdoms, were be- 
stowed on the younger children ; and Lewis the Second, 
his eldest son, was content with the realm of Italy, the 
proper and sufficient patrimony of a Roman emperor. On 
his death without any male issue, the vacant throne was dis- 
puted by his uncles and cousins, and the popes most dexter- 
ously seized the occasion of judging the claims and merits 
of the candidates, and of bestowing on the most obsequious, 
or most liberal, the Imperial office of advocate of the Ro- 
man church. The dregs of the Carlovingian race no longer 
exhibited any symptoms of virtue or power, and the ridicu- 
lous epithets of the bard, the stammere?; the fat, and the 
simple, distinguished the tame and uniform features of a 
crowd of kings alike deserving of oblivion. By the failure 
of the collateral branches, the whole inheritance devolved to 
Charles the Fat, the last emperor of his family : his insanity 
authorized the desertion of Germany, Italy, and France : he 
was deposed in a diet, and solicited his daily bread from 
the rebels by whose contempt his life and liberty had been 

116 Thegan, the biographer of Lewis, relates Ibis coronation ; and Baronius bas 
honestly transcribed it (A. D. 813. No. 13. &c. See Gaillard, torn. ii. pp. 500, 507, 
508), howsoever adverse to the claims of the popes. For the series of the Carlo- 
vingians, see the historians of France, Italy, and Germany. Pfeffel, Schmidt, 
Velly, Muratori, and even Voltaire, whose pictures are sometimes just, and always 
pleasing. 



296 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

spared. According to the measure of their force, the gov- 
ernors, the bishops, and the lords, usurped the fragments of 
the falling empire ; and some preference was shown to the 
female or illegitimate blood of Charlemagne. Of the greater 
part, the title and possession were alike doubtful, and the 
merit was adequate to the contracted scale of their domin- 
ions. Those who could appear with an army at the gates 
of Rome were crowned emperors in the Vatican ; but their 
modesty was more frequently satisfied with the appellation 
of kings of Italy : and the whole term of seventy-four years 
may be deemed a vacancy, from the abdication of Charles the 
Fat to the establishment of Otho the First. 

Otho 11T was of the noble race of the dukes of Saxony ; 
and if he truly descended from Witikind, the adversary and 
proselyte of Charlemagne, the posterity of a vanquished 
people Avas exalted to reign over their conquerors. His 
father, Henry the Fowler, was elected, by the suffrage of 
the nation, to save and institute the kingdom of Germany. 
Its limits 118 were enlarged on every side by his son, the first 
and greatest of the Othos. A portion of Gaul, to the west 
of the Rhine, along the banks of the Meuse and the Moselle, 
was assigned to the Germans, by whose blood and language 
it has been tinged since the time of Cresar and Tacitus. 
Between the Rhine, the Rhone, and the Alps, the succes- 
sors of Otho acquired a vain supremacy over the broken 
kingdoms of Burgundy and Aries. In the North, Christian- 
ity was propagated by the sword of Otho, the conqueror 
and apostle of the Slavic nations of the Elbe and Oder : the 
marches of Brandenburgh and Sleswick were fortified with 
German colonies; and the king of Denmark, the dukes of 
Poland and Bohemia, confessed themselves his tributary 
vassals. At the head of a victorious army, he passed the 
Alps, subdued the kingdom of Italy, delivered the pope, 
and forever fixed the Imperial crown in the name and 
nation of Germany. From that memorable aera, two max- 
ims of public jurisprudence were introduced by force and 

W He was the son of Otho, the son of Ludolph, in whose favor the Duchy of 
Saxony had been instituted. A. D. 858. Ruotgerus.the biographer of a St. Bruno 
(Bibliot. Bunavianje Catalog, torn. iii. vol. ii. p. 079), gives a splendid character 
of his family. Atavorum atari usque ad hominum memoriam oumes nobilisdmi ; 
nullus in eorum stirpe ignotus, nullusdegener facile reperitur (apud Struvinin, 
Corp. Hist. German, p. 216). Yet Gundling (in Henrico Aucupe) is not satisfied 
of his descent from Witikind. 

1,3 See the treatise of Conringius (de Finibus Imperii Germanici, Franeofurt. 
1680, in 4to.): he rejects the extravagant and improper scale of the Roman and 
Carlovingian empires, and discusses with moderation the rights of Germany, her 
Vassals, and her neighbors. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 297 

ratified by time. I. That the prince, who was elected in 
the German diet, acquired, from that instant, the subject 
kingdoms of Italy and Rome. II. J3ut that lie might not 
legally assume the titles of emperor and Augustus, till he 
had received the crown from the hands of the Roman pon- 
tiff. 119 

The Imperial dignity of Charlemagne was announced to 
the East by the alteration of his style ; and instead of salut- 
ing his fathers, the Greek emperors, he presumed to adopt 
the more equal and familiar appellation of brother. 120 Pe^ 
haps in his connection with Irene he aspired to the name of 
husband: his embassy to Constantinople spoke the language 
of peace and friendship, and might conceal a treaty of mar- 
riage with that ambitious princess, who had renounced the 
most sacred duties of a mother. The nature, the duration, 
the probable consequences of such a union between two dis- 
tant and dissonant empires, it is impossible to conjecture ; 
but the unanimous silence of the Latins may teach us to sus- 
pect, that the report was invented by the enemies of Irene, to 
charge her with the guilt of betraying the church and state 
to the strangers of the West. 121 The French ambassadors 
were the spectators, and had nearly been the victims, of the 
conspiracy of Nicephorus, and the national hatred. Con- 
stantinople was exasperated by the treason and sacrilege of 
ancient Rome : a proverb, " That the Franks were good 
friends and bad neighbors," was in every one's mouth ; but 
it was dangerous to provoke a neighbor who might be 
tempted to reiterate, in the church of St. Sophia, the cere- 
mony of his Imperial coronation. After a tedious journey 
of circuit and delay, the ambassadors of Nicephorus found 
him in his camp, on the banks of the River Sala ; and 
Charlemagne affected to confound their vanity by displaying, 
in a Franconian village, the pomp, or at least the pride, of 
the Byzantine palace. 122 The Greeks were successively led 

1,0 The power of custom forces me to number Conrad I. ami Henry I., the 
Fowler, in the list of emperors, a title which was never assumed by those kin^s 
of Germany. The Italians. Muralori for instance, are more scrupulous and cor- 
rect, and only reckon the princes who have been crowned at Rome. 

120 Invidiam tamen snscepti nominis (C. P. imperatoribus super hoc indig- 
nantibus) magna tulit patientia, vicitque eorum contumaciam * * * mittendoad 
eoscrebras legationes, et in epistolis fratres eos appellando. Fginhaid, c. 28, p. 
128. Perhaps it was on their account that, like Augustus, he affected some re- 
luctance to receive the empire. * 

1 i Theophanes speaks of the coronation and unction of Charles. KapovAAo? 
(Chronograph, p. 39!)), and of his treaty of marriage with Irene (p. 402), which is 
unknown to the Latins. Gaillard relates his transactions with the Greek empire 
(torn. ii. pp. 446-468). 

22 Gaillard very properly observes, that this pageant was a farce suitable to 
children only ; but that indeed it was represented in the presence, and for the 
benefit, of children of a large growth. 



298 , THE DECLINE AND FALL 

through four halls of audience : in the first they were ready 
to fall prostrate before a splendid personage in a chair of 
state, till he informed them that he was only a servant, the 
constable, or master of the house, of the emperor. The 
same mistake, and the same answer, were repeated in the 
apartments of the count palatine, the Stewart, and the 
chamberlain ; and their impatience was gradually height- 
ened, till the doors of the presence-chamber were thrown 
open, and they beheld the genuine monarch, on his throne, 
enriched with the foreign luxury which he despised, and en- 
circled with the love and reverence of his victorious chiefs. 
A treaty of peace and alliance was concluded between the two 
empires, and the limits of the East and West were defined 
by the right of present possession. But the Greeks 123 soon 
forgot this humiliating equality, or remembered it only to 
hate the Barbarians by whom it was extorted. During the 
short union of virtue and power, they respectfully saluted the 
august Charlemagne, with the acclamations of basileus, 
and emperor of the Romans. As soon as these qualities 
were separated in the person of his pious son, the Byzan- 
tine letters were inscribed, "To the king, or, as he styles 
himself, the emperor of the Franks and Lombards." When 
both power and virtue were extinct, they despoiled Lewis 
the Second of his hereditary title, and with the barbarous 
appellation of rex or rega, degraded him among the crowd 
of Latin princes. His reply V24 is expressive of his weak- 
ness : he proves, with some learning, that, both in sacred 
and profane history, the name of king is synonymous with 
the Greek word basileus : if, at Constantinople, it were 
assumed in a more exclusive and imperial sense, he claims 
from his ancestors, and from the pope, a just participation 
of the honors of the Roman purple. The same controversy 
was revived in the reign of the Othos ; and their ambassa- 
dor describes, in lively colors, the insolence of the Byzan- 
tine court. 125 The Greeks affected to despise the poverty 

123 Compare, in the original text, collected by Pagi (torn. iii. A. D. 812, No. 7, 
A. D. 824, No. 10, &c), the contrast of Charlemagne and his son ; to the former 
ihe ambassadors of Michael (who were indeed disavowed) more suo, id est lingua 
Graeca laudes dixerunt, imperatorum eum et BacrtAea appellantes, to the latter, 
Vocato impRratoii Francorum, &c. 

m See tii3 epistle, in Paralipomena, of the anonymous writer of Salerno 
(Script. Itui. torn. ii. pars ii.j>p. 243-254, c. 93-1U7), whom Baronins (A. D. 871, 
No. 51-71) mistook for Erchempert, when he transcribed it in his Annals. 

"■ Ipse enim vos, non imperatorem, id e^t BacrtAea sua lingua, sed ob indigna- 
tionem Fyy*, id e.-t regem nostra vocabat, Liutpr.md. in Legat. in Script. Ital, torn, 
in. pars i. p. 47fl. The pope had exhorted Kicephorus, emperor of the Greeks, to 
make peace with Otho,the august emperor of the Romans — quseinscriptio secun- 
dum Graecos peccatoria et temeraria * * * imperatorem inquiunt, univer- 
salem, Romano7-um, Angustum, magnum, solum, Nicephorum (p. 486). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 299 

and ignorance of the Franks and Saxons ; and in their last 
decline refused to prostitute to the kings of Germany the 
title of Roman emperors. 

These emperors, in the election of the popes, continued 
to exercise the powers which had been assumed by the 
Gothic and Grecian princes; and the importance of this 
prerogative increased with the temporal estate and spiritual 
jurisdiction of the Roman church. In the Christian aris- 
tocracy, the principal members of the clergy still formed a 
senate* to assist the administration, ftpd to supply the va- 
cancy, of the bishop. Rome was divided into twenty-eight 
parishes, and each parish was governed by a cardinal priest, 
or presbyter, a title which, however common and modest in 
its origin, has aspired to emulate the purple of kings. Their 
number was enlarged by the association of the seven dea- 
cons of the most considerable hospitals, the seven palatine 
judges of the Lateran, and some dignitaries of the church. 
This ecclesiastical senate was directed by the seven cardinal- 
bishops of the Roman provinces, who were less occupied in 
the suburb dioceses of Ostia, Porto, Velitrae, Tusculum, 
Prauieste, Tibur, and the Sabines, than by their weekly 
service in the Lateran, and their superior share in the hon- 
ors and authority of the apostolic see. On the death of the 
pope, these bishops recommended a successor to the suffrage 
of the college of cardinals, 126 and their choice was ratified 
or rejected by the applause or clamor of the Roman people. 
But the election was imperfect; nor could the pontiff be 
legally consecrated till the emperor, the advocate of the 
church, had graciously signified his approbation and con- 
sent. The royal commissioner examined, on the spot, the 
form and freedom of the proceedings; nor was it till after 
a previous scrutiny into the qualifications of the candidates, 
that he accepted an oath of fidelity, and confirmed the do- 
nations which had successively enriched the patrimony of St. 
Peter. In the frequent schisms, the rival claims were sub- 
mitted to the sentence of the emperor ; and in a synod of 
bishops he presumed to judge, to condemn, and to punish, 
the crimes of a guilty pontiff. Otho the First imposed a 
treaty on the senate and people, who engaged to prefer the 

12G The origin and progress of the title of cardinal may he formd in Thomas- 
sin (Discipline do l'Eglise, tom. i. pp. 1261-12DM, Muratbri (Antiquitat. Italiae 
Medii JEvl, tom. vi. Dissert, lxi. pp. ir>fMP2\ and Mosheim (Tnstitut. Hist. Eeeles. 
pp. ." , 45--.'H7>, who accurately remarks ihe forms and changes of the election. The 
cardinal-bishops, po hi Mv 'exalted by Peter Damianus, are sunk to a level with 
the rest of the sacred college. 



300 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

candidate most acceptable to his majesty : 127 his successors 
anticipated or prevented their choice : they bestowed the 
Koman benefice, like the bishoprics of Cologne or Bamberg, 
on their chancellors or preceptors ; and whatever might be 
the merit of a Frank or Saxon, his name sufficiently attests 
the interposition of foreign power. These acts of preroga- 
tive were most speciously excused by the vices of a popular 
election. The competitor who had been excluded by the 
cardinals, appealed to the passions or avarice of the multi- 
tude ; the Vatican and the Lateran were stained with blood ; 
and the most powerful senators, the marquises of Tuscany 
and the counts of Tusculum, held the apostolic see in a long 
and disgraceful servitude. The Roman pontiffs, of the 
ninth and tenth centuries, were insulted, imprisoned, and 
murdered, by their tyrants ; and such was their indigence, 
after the loss and usurpation of the ecclesiastical patri- 
monies, that they could neither support the state of a prince, 
nor exercise the charity of a priest. 128 The influence of 
two sister prostitutes, Marozia and Theodora, was founded 
on their wealth and beauty, their political and amorous in- 
trigues : the most strenuous of their lovers were rewarded 
with the Roman mitre, and their reign K0 may have sug- 
gested to the darker ages 130 the fable m of a female pope. 13 ' 2 

12 7 Firmiter jurantes, nunquam se papam electuros ant ordinaturos, praeter 
eonsensum et electionem Otlionis et filii sui (Liutprand, 1. vL c. 6, p. 472). This 
important concession may either supply or confirm the decree of the clergy and 
people of Rome, so Merely rejected by Baronius, Pagi, and Muratori (A. D. 964), 
and so well defended and explained by St. Marc (Abrege,tom. ii. pp.808— 816, torn, 
iv. pp. ll(>7— 1185). Consult that historical critic, and the Annals of Muratori, for 
the election and confirmation of each pope. 

123 The oppression and vices of the Koman church, in the xth century, are 
etrongiy painted in the history and legation of Liutprand (see pp. 440, 450, 471-476, 
479, &c) ; and it is whimsical enough to observe Muratori tempering the invec- 
tives of Baronius against the popes. But these popes had been chosen, not by 
the cardinais, but by lay-patrons. 

12 ' The time of Pope Joan (papissa Joanna) is placed somewhat earlier than 
Theodora or Marozia ; and the two years of her imaginary reign are forcibly in- 
serted between Leo IV. and Benedict III. But the contemporary Anastasius in- 
dissolubly links the death of Leo and the elevation of Benedict (illico, mox, 
p. 247) ; and the accurate chronology of Pagi, Muratori, and Leibnitz, fixes both 
events to the year 857. 

130 The advocates for Pope Joan produce one hundred and fifty witnesses, or 
rather echoes, of the xivth, xvth, and xvith centuries. They bear testimony 
against themselves and the legend, by multiplying the proof that so curious a 
story must have been repeated by writers of every description to whom it was 
known. On those of the ixth and. xth centuries, the recent event would have 
flashed with a double force. Would Photius have spared such a reproach? 
Could Liutprand have missed such scandal? It is scarcely worth while.to dis- 
cuss the various readings of Martinus Polonus, Sigebert of Gamblours, or even 
Marianus Scotus ; but a moot palpable forgery is the passage of Pope Joan, 
which has been foisted into soar>e MSS. and editions of the Koman Anastasius. 

161 As false, it deserves that name; but I would not pronounce it incredible. 
Suppose a famous French chevalier of our own times to have been born in Italy, 
and educated in the church, instead of the army : her merit or fortune might have 
raised her to St. Peter's chair ; her amours would have been natural ; her deliv- 
ery in the streets unlucky, but not improbable. 

132 Till the reformation the tale was repeated and believed without offence : 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 301 

The bastard son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of 
Marozia, a rare genealogy, were seated in the chair of St. 
Peter, and it was at the age of nineteen years that the 
second of these became the head of the Latin church.* 
His youth and manhood were of a suitable complexion ; and 
the nations of pilgrims could bear testimony to the charges 
that were urged against him in a Roman synod, and in the 
presence of Otho the Great. As John XII. had renounced 
the dress and decencies of his profession, the soldier may 
not perhaps be dishonored by the wine which he drank, the 
blood that he spilt, the flames that he kindled, or the 
licentious pursuits of gaming and hunting. His open 
simony might be the consequence of distress ; and his blas- 
phemous invocation of Jupiter and Venus, if it be true, 
could not possibly be serious. But we read, with some 
surprise, that the worthy grandson of Marozia lived in pub- 
lic adultery with the matrons of Rome ; that the Lateran 
palace was turned into a school for prostitution, and that 
his rapes of virgins and widows had deterred the female 
pilgrims from visiting the tomb of St. Peter, lest, in the 
devout act, they should be violated by his successor. 133 The 
Protestants have dwelt with malicious pleasure on these 
characters of Antichrist ; but to a philosophic eye, the vices 
of the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues. 
After a long series of scandal, the apostolic see was reform- 
ed and exalted by the austerity and zeal of Gregory VII. 
That ambitious monk devoted his life to the execution of 
two projects. I. To fix in the college of cardinals the free- 
dom and independence of election, and forever to abolish 
the right or usurpation of the emperors and the Roman 
people. II. To bestow and resume the Western empire as 

and Joan's female statue long occupied her place among the popes in the cathe 
dral ot Sienna (Pagi, Critica, torn. iii. pp. 624-62G): She has been annihilated by- 
two learned Protestants, Blondel and Bayle (Diction naire Critique, Papesse, 
Poloxus, Blondel) ; but their brethren were scandalized by this equitable and 
generous criticism. Spanheim and Lenfant attempt to save this poor engine of 
controversy ; and even Mosheim condescends to cherish some doubt and suspi- 
cion (p. 28!)). 

1 * Lateranense palatium * * * p»ostibulum meretricun) * * * Testis 
omnium gentium, praeterquam Bomanorum, absentia mulierum, quae sanctorum 
apostolorum limiua orandi gratia timent visere. cum nonnullas ante dies paueos, 
hunc audierint conjugatas, viduas, virgines vi oppressisse (Liutprand, Hist. 1. vi. 
C. 6, p. 471. See the whole aifair of John XII., pp. 471-47(5). 



* John XT. was the son of her husband Alberic, not of herlover, Pope Sergius 
III., as M ura tori nas distinctly proved, Ann. ad ami. 911, torn. . . p. 628. Her 
grandson Octavian, otherwise called John XII., was pope : but a great-grandson 
cannot l>e discovered in any of the succeeding popes ; nor does our historian him- 
self, in his subsequent narration (p. 202), seem to know of one. Hobhuuse, Hills' 
trationsof Childe Harold, p. 309.— M. 



302 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

a fief or "benefice 134 of the church, and to extend his tem- 
poral dominion over the kings and kingdoms of the earth. 
After a contest of fifty years, the first of these designs was 
accomplished by the firm support of the ecclesiastical order, 
whose liberty was connected with that of their chief. But 
the second attempt, though it was crowned with some par- 
tial and apparent success, has been vigorously resisted by 
the secular power, and finally extinguished by the improve- 
ment of human reason. 

In the revival of the empire of Rome, neither the bishop 
nor the people could bestow on Charlemagne or Otho the 
provinces which were lost, as they had been won, by 
the chance of arms. But the Romans were free to choose 
a master for themselves ; and the powers which had been 
delegated to the patrician, were irrevocably granted to the 
French and Saxon emperors of the West. The broken 
records of the times 13a preserve some remembrance of their 
palace, their mint, their tribunal, their edicts, and the sword 
of justice which, as late as the thirteenth century, was de- 
rived from Caesar to the prsefeet of the city. 130 Between 
the arts of the popes and the violence of the people, this 
supremacy was crushed and annihilated. Content with the 
titles of emperor and Augustus, the successors of Charle- 
magne neglected to assert this local jurisdiction. In the 
hour of prosperity, their ambition was diverted by more 
alluring objects; and in the decay and division of the em- 
pire, they were oppressed by the defence of their hereditary 
provinces. Amidst the ruins of Italy, the famous Marozia 
invited one of the usurpers to assume the character of her 
third husband; and Hugh, king of Burgundy, was intro- 
duced by her faction into the mole of Hadrian or castle of 
St. Angelo, which commands the principal bridge and en- 
trance of Rome, Her son by the first marriage, Alberic, 
was compelled to attend at the nuptial banquet ; but his re- 
luctant and ungraceful service was chastised with a blow by 
his new father. The blow was productive of a revolution. 

134 A new example of the mischief of equivocation is the benejicium (Ducange 
toin. i. p. 617, &c-), which the pope conferred on the emperor Frederic I., since 
the Latin word may signify either a legal rief, or a simple favor, an obligation 
(we want the word bienfait). (See Schmidt, Hist, des Allemands, torn. iii. pp. 
393-40S. Pfeffel, Abrege Chronologique, torn. i. pp. 229, 296, 317, 324, 420, 430, 500, 
505, 509, &c). 

1 :fi For the history of the emperors in Borne and Italy, see Slgonius de Regno 
Italire, Opp. torn, ii., with the Notes of Saxins, and the Annals of Muratori, who 
might refer more distinctly to the authors of his great collection. 

WG See the Dissertation of I.e Blanc at the end of his treatise des Monnoyes 
de France, of Muratori, iu which he produces some Roman coins of the French 
emperors. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 303 

"Romans," exclaimed the youth, "once you were the 
masters of the world, and these Burgundians the most ab- 
ject of your slaves. They now reign, these voracious and 
brutal savages, and my injury is the commencement of your 
servitude." 137 The alarum bell rang to arms in every quar- 
ter of the city: the Burgundians retreated with haste and 
shame; Marozia was imprisoned by her victorious son, and 
his brother, Pope John XL, was reduced to the exercise of 
his spiritual functions. With the title of prince, Alberic 
possessed above twenty years the government of Rome ; and 
lie is said to have gratified the popular prejudice, by restor- 
ing the office, or at least the title, of consuls and tribunes. 
His son and heir Octavian assumed, with the pontificate, the 
name of John XII. : like his predecessor, he was provoked 
by the Lombard princes to seek a deliverer for the church 
and republic ; and the services of Otho were rewarded with 
the Imperial dignity. But the Saxon was imperious, the 
Romans were impatient, the festival of the coronation was 
disturbed by the secret conflict of prerogative and freedom, 
and Otho commanded his sword-bearer not to stir from his 
person, lest he should be assaulted and murdered at the foot 
of the altar. 138 Before he repassed the Alps, the emperor 
chastised the revolt of the people and the ingratitude of 
John XII. The pope was degraded in a synod; the praefect 
was mounted on an ass, whipped through the city, and cast 
into a dungeon ; thirteen of the most guilty were hanged, 
others were mutilated or banished ; and this severe process 
was justified by the ancient laws of Theodosius and Justinian. 
The voice of fame has accused the second Otho of a perfid- 
ious and bloody act, the massacre of the senators, whom he 
bad invited to his table under the fair semblance of hos- 
pitality and friendship. 139 In the minority of his son Otho 
the Third, Iiome made a bold attempt to shake off the 
Saxon yoke, and the consul Crescentius was the Brutus of 
the republic. From the condition of a subject and an exile, 
he tw r ice rose to the command of the city, oppressed, ex- 

* s ? Romanorum aliquando servi, scilicet Burgundionee, Romania imperent ? 
* * * Romance urbis dignitas ad tantam est stultitiam ducta, ut pieretricum 
etiam imuerio pareat? (Liutprand, 1. iii. c. 12, p. 450). Sigonius (1. vi. p. 400) 
positively affirms the renovation of the consulship : but in the old writers Alber- 
icus is more frequently styled princeps Romanoiurn, 

13 8 Ditmar, p. 354, apud Schmidt, torn. iii. p. 43f), 

139 Tbis bloody feast is described in Leonine verse in the Pantheon of Godfrey 
of Viterbo (Script. Ital, torn. vii. pp. 430, 437), who flourished towards the end of 
the xiith century (Fabricius Bibliot. Latin Med. et Inrirmj /Kvi. torn. iii. p. 69, 
edit, Mansi) ; but hi9 evidence, which imposed ou Sigoiuua, i8 reasonably sus~ 
pected by Muratori (Annali, torn. viii. p. 177>. 



304 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

pelled, and created the popes, and formed a conspiracy for 
restoring the authority of the Greek emperors.* In the for- 
tress of St. Angelo, he maintained an obstinate siege, till the 
unfortunate consul was betrayed by a promise of safety: his 
body was suspended on a gibbet, and his head was exposed 
on the battlements of the castle. By a reverse of for- 
tune, Otho, after separating his troops, was besieged three 
days, without food, in his palace ; and a disgraceful escape 
saved him from the justice or fury of the Romans. The 
senator Ptolemy was the leader of the people, and the widow 
of Crescentius enjoyed the pleasure or the fame of revenging 
her husband, by a poison which she administered to her Im- 
perial lover. It was the design of Otho the Third to aban- 
don the ruder countries of the North, to erect his throne 
in Italy, and to revive the institutions of the Roman mon- 
archy. But his successors only once in their lives appeared 
on the banks of the Tiber, to receive their crown in the 
Vatican. 140 Their absence was contemptible, their presence 
odious and formidable. They descended from the Alps, at 
the head of their barbarians, who were strangers and enemies 
to the country; and their transient visit was a scene of 
tumult and bloodshed. 141 A faint remembrance of their an- 
cestors still tormented the Romans ; and they beheld with 
pious indignation the succession of Saxons, Franks, Swa- 
bians, and Bohemians, who usurped the purple and prerog- 
atives of the Caesars. 

There is nothing perhaps more adverse to nature and 
reason than to hold in obedience remote countries and foreign 
nations, in opposition to their inclination and interest. A 
torrent of Barbarians may pass over the earth, but an ex- 
tensive empire must be supported by a refined system of 
policy and oppression ; in the centre, an absolute power, 
prompt in action and rich in resources ; a swift and easy 
communication with the extreme parts ; fortifications to 
check the first effort of rebellion ; a regular administration 

140 The coronation of the emperor, and some original ceremonies of the xth 
century are preserved in the Panegyric on Berengarius (Script. Ital. torn. ii. pars 
i. pp. 405—414), illustrated by the Notes ot Hadrian Valerius and Leibnitz. Sigo- 
nius has related the whole process of the Roman expedition, in good Latin, but 
with some errors of time and fact 0- vii. pp. 441-446). 

141 In a quarrel at the coronation of Conrad II. Muratori takes leave to ob- 
serve— doveano ben essere allora, indisciplinati, Barbari, e bestiali 1 Tedeschi. 
Anna 1 , torn. viii. p. 3G8. 



* The Marquis Maffei's gnllery contained a medal with Imp. Cses. August P. 
P. Crescentius. Hence Hobhouse infers that he affected the empire. Hobhouse, 
Illustrations of Childe Harold, p. 252.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 305 

to protect and punish ; and a well disciplined army to in- 
spire fear, without provoking discontent and despair. Far 
different was the situation of the German Caesars, who were 
ambitious to enslave the kingdom of Italy. Their patrimo- 
nial estates were stretched along the Rhine, or scattered in, 
the provinces; but this ample domain was alienated by the 
imprudence or distress of successive princes ; and their re- 
venue, from minute and vexatious prerogative, was scarcely 
sufficient for the maintenance of their household. Their 
troops were formed by the legal or voluntary service of their 
feudal vassals, who passed the Alps with reluctance, assumed 
the license of rapine and disorder, and capriciously deserted 
before the end of the campaign. Whole armies were swept 
away by the pestilential influence of the climate: the sur- 
vivors brought back the bones of their princes and nobles, 142 
and the effects of their own intemperance were often im- 
puted to the treachery and malice of the Italians, who re- 
joiced at least in the calamities of the Barbarians. This ir- 
regular tyranny might contend on equal terms with the petty 
tyrants of Italy ; nor can the people, or the reader, be much 
interested m the event of the quarrel. But in the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, the Lombards rekindled the flame of 
industry and freedom ; and the generous example was at 
length imitated by the republics of Tuscany.* In the Italian 
cities a municipal government had never been totally 
abolished ; and their first privileges were granted by the 
favor and policy of the emperors, who were desirous of erect- 
ing a plebeian barrier against the independence of the nobles. 
But their rapid progress, the daily extension of their power 
and pretensions, were founded on the numbers and spirit of 
these rising communities. 143 Each city filled the measure of 
her diocese or district: the jurisdiction of the counts and 
bishops, of the marquises and counts, was banished from the 
land ; and the proudest nobles were persuaded or compelled 
to desert their solitary castles, and to embrace the more 

142 After boiling away the flesh. The caldrons for that purpose were a neces- 
sary piece of tra. elling furniture ; ami a German who was using it for his brother 
promised it to a friend, after it should have been emoloyed for himself (Schmidt, 
torn. iii. pp. 423, 424). The same author observes that the whole Saxon line was 
extinguished in Italy -'torn. ii. p. 440). 

i« Otho, bishon of Frisingen, has left an important passage on the Italian 
cities (1. ii. c. 13, in Script. Hal. torn. vi. pp. 707-710) , and the rise, progress, and 

fovernment of these republics are perfectly illustrated by Muratori (Antiquitat. 
tal. Medii JEvi, torn. iv. dissert, xlv.-lii. pp. 1-675. Annal. torn. viii. ix. x.). 



♦Compare Sismondi, Histoire des Re>ubliques Italiennes. Hallam's Middle 
Aces. Raumer. Geschichte der Hohenstauffen. Savigny, Geschichte des B5- 
mischen Hechts. vol. iii. p. 19. with the authors quoted.— M. 

Vol. IV.— 20 



306 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

honorable character of freemen and magistrates. The legis- 
lative authority was inherent in the general assembly ; but 
the executive powers were intrusted to three consuls, annu- 
ally chosen from the three orders of captains, valvassors, u * 
and commons, into which the republic was divided. Under 
the protection of equal law, the labors of agriculture and 
commerce were gradually revived ; but the martial spirit of 
the Lombards was nourished by the presence of danger ; 
and as often as the bell was rung, or the standard 145 erected, 
the gates of the city poured forth a numerous and intrepid 
band, whose zeal in their own cause was soon guided by the 
use and discipline of arms. At the foot of these popular 
ramparts, the pride of the Caesars was overthrown ; and the 
invincible genius of liberty prevailed over the two Frederics, 
the greatest princes of the middle age ; the first, superior 
perhaps in military prowess ; the second, who undoubtedly 
excelled in the softer accomplishments of peace and learning. 
Ambitious of restoring the splendor of the purple, Fred- 
eric the First invaded the republics of Lombardy, with the 
arts of a statesman, the valor of a soldier, and the cruelty 
of a tyrant. The recent discovery of the Pandects had re- 
newed a science most favorable to despotism ; and his venal 
advocates proclaimed the emperor the absolute master of 
the lives and properties of his subjects. His royal prerog- 
atives, in a less odious sense, were acknowledged in the diet 
of Roncaglia ; and the revenue of Italy was fixed at thirty 
thousand pounds of silver, 146 which were multiplied to an 
indefinite demand by the rapine of the fiscal officers. The 
obstinate cities were reduced by the terror or the force of 
his arms ; his captives were delivered to the executioner, or 
shot from his military engines ; and, after the siege and sur- 
render of Milan, the buildings of that stately capital were 
razed to the ground, three hundred hostages were sent into 
Germany, and the inhabitants were dispersed in four vil- 
lages, under the yoke of the inflexible conqueror. 147 But 

144 For these titles, see Selden (Titles of Honor, vol. iii. part. i. p. 488), l)u- 
cange (Gloss. Latin, torn. ii. p. 140, torn. vi. p. 776), and St. Marc (Abrege Chron- 
ologique, torn. ii. p. 719). 

14i "' The Lombards invented and used the carocium, a standard planted on a car 
or wagon, drawn by a team of oxen (Dueange, torn. ii. pp. 194, 195. Muratori, 
Antiqnitat, torn. ii. dis. xxvi. pp. 489-493). 

140 Gunther Ligurinus, 1. viii. 584, et seq., apud Schmidt, torn. iii. p 399. 

347 Solus iinperator faciem suam nrmavit ut petram (Burcard de Excidio Medi- 
olani, Script. Ital. torn. vi. p. 917). This volume of Muratori contains ibe orig- 
inals of tbe History of Frederic the First, which must be compared with due 
regard to the circumstances and prejudices of each German or Lombard writer.* 



* Von Raurner has traced the fortunes of the Swabian house in one of the 



OF THE ItOMAN EMPJEJJ. 307 

Milan soon rose from her ashes ; and the league of Lom- 
bardy was cemented by distress : their cause was espoused 
by Venice, Pope Alexander the Third, and the Greek em- 
peror : the fabric of oppression was overturned in a day ; 
and in the treaty of Constance, Frederic subscribed, with 
some reservations, the freedom of four-and-twenty cities. 
His grandson contended with their vigor and maturity ; 
but Frederic the Second 148 was endowed with some per- 
sonal and peculiar advantages. His birth and education 
recommended him to the Italians; and in the implacable 
discord of the two factions, the Ghibelins were attached to 
the emperor, while the Guelfs displayed the banner of lib- 
erty and the church. The court of Rome had slumbered, 
when his father Henry the Sixth was permitted to unite 
witli the empire the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily ; and 
from these hereditary realms the son derived an ample and 
ready supply of troops and treasure. Yet Frederic the 
Second was finally oppressed by the arms of the Lombards 
and the thunders of the Vatican : his kingdom was given to 
a stranger, and the last of his family was beheaded at Na- 
ples on a public scaffold. During sixty years, no emperor 
appeared in Italy, and the name was remembered only by 
the ignominious sale of the last relics of sovereignty. 

The Barbarian conquerors of the West were pleased to 
decorate their chief with the title of emperor ; but it was 
not their design to invest him with the despotism of Con- 
stantine and Justinian. The persons of the Germans were 
free, their conquests Avere their own, and their national 
character was animated by a spirit which scorned the ser- 
vile jurisprudence of the new or the ancient Rome. It 
would have been a vain and dangerous attempt to impose a 
monarch on the armed freemen, who were impatient of a 
magistrate ; on the bold, who refused to obey ; on the pow- 
erful, who aspired to command. The empire of Charle- 
magne and Oth o was distributed among the dukes of the 
nations or provinces, the counts of the smaller districts, and 
the margraves of the marches or frontiers, who all united 
the civil and military authority as it had been delegated to 
the lieutenants of the first Cresars. The Roman governors, 
who, for the most part, were soldiers of fortune, seduced 

143 For the history of Frederic II. and the house of Swabia at Naples, see 
Giannone, Istoria Civile, tom. ii. 1. viv.— xix. 



ablest historical works of modern times. He may be compared with the spirited 
and independent Sismondi. — M. 



S08 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

their mercenary legions, assumed the Imperial purple, and 
either failed or succeeded in their revolt without wounding 
the power and unity of government. If the dukes, mar- 
graves, and counts of Germany, were less audacious in their 
claims, the consequences of their success were more lasting 
and pernicious to the state. Instead of aiming at the su- 
preme rank, they silently labored to establish and appropriate 
their provincial independence. Their ambition was seconded 
by the weight of their estates and vassals, their mutual ex- 
ample and support, the common interest of the subordinate 
nobility, the change of princes and families, the minorities 
of Otho the Third and Henry the Fourth, the ambition of 
the popes, and the vain pursuit of the fugitive crowns of 
Italy and Rome. All the attributes of regal and territorial 
jurisdiction were gradually usurped by the commanders of 
the provinces : the right of peace and war, of life and death, 
of coinage and taxation, of foreign alliance and domestic 
economy. Whatever had been seized by violence, was 
ratified by favor or distress, was granted as the price of a 
doubtful vote or a voluntary service ; whatever had been 
granted to one, could not, without injury, be denied to his 
successor or equal ; and every act of local or temporary 
possession was insensibly moulded into the constitution of 
the Germanic ' kingdom. In every province, the visible 
presence of the duke or count was interposed between the 
throne and the nobles : the subjects of the law became the 
vassals of a private chief; and the standard which he re- 
ceived from his sovereign, was often raised against him in 
the field< The temporal power of the clergy was cherished 
and exalted by the superstition or policy of the Carlovin- 
gian and Saxon dynasties, who blindly depended on their 
moderation and fidelity; and the bishoprics of Germany 
were made equal in extent and privilege, superior in wealth 
and population, to the most ample states of the military 
order. As long as the emperors retained the prerogative of 
bestowing on every vacancy these ecclesiastical and secular 
benefices, their cause was maintained by the gratitude or 
ambition of their friends and favorites. But in the quarrel 
of the investitures, they were deprived of their influence 
over the episcopal chapters ; the freedom of election was re- 
stored, and the sovereign was reduced, by a solemn mock- 
ery, to his first prayers, the recommendation, once in his 
reign, to a single prebend in each church. The secular 
p-overnors, instead of being recalled at the will of a superior, 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 309 

could be degraded only by the sentence of their peers. In 
the first age of the monarchy, the appointment of the son to 
the duchy or county of his father, was solicited as a favor ; 
it was gradually obtained as a custom, and extorted as a 
right : the lineal succession was often extended to the collat- 
eral or female branches : the states of the empire (their pop- 
ular, and at length their legal, appellation) were divided and 
alienated by testament and sale ; and all idea of a public 
trust was lost in that of a private and perpetual inheritance. 
The emperor could not even be enriched by the casualties of 
forfeiture and extinction : within the term of a year, he was 
obliged to dispose of the vacant fief; and, in the choice of 
the candidate, it was his duty to consult either the general 
or the provincial diet. 

After the death of Frederic the Second, Germany was 
left a monster with a hundred heads. A crowd of princes 
and prelates disputed the ruins of the empire: the lords of 
innumerable castles were less prone to obey, than to imi- 
tate, their superiors ; and, according to the measure of their 
strength, their incessant hostilities received the names of 
conquest or robbery. Such anarchy was the inevitable con- 
sequence of the laws and manners of Europe ; and the king- 
doms of France and Italy were shivered into fragments by 
the violence of the same tempest. But the Italian cities 
and the French vassals were divided and destroyed, while 
the union of the Germans has produced, under the name of 
an empire, a great system of a federative republic. In the 
frequent and at last the perpetual institution of diets, a na- 
tional spirit was kept alive, and the powers of a common 
legislature are still exercised by three branches or colleges 
of the electors, the princes, and the free and Imperial cities 
of Germany. I. Seven of the most powerful feudatories 
were permitted to assume, with a distinguished name and 
rank, the exclusive privilege of choosing the Roman empe- 
ror ; and these electors were the king of Bohemia, the duke 
of Saxony, the margrave of Brandenburgh, the count pala- 
tine of the Rhine, and tjie three archbishops of Mentz, of 
Treves, and of Cologne. II. The college of princes and 
prelates purged themselves of a promiscuous multitude : 
they reduced to four representative votes the long series of 
independent counts, and excluded the nobles or equestrian 
order, sixty thousand of whom, as in the Polish diets, had 
appeared on horseback in the field of election. III. The 
pride of birth and dominion, of the sword and the mitre, 



310 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

wisely adopted the commons as the third branch of the legis- 
lature, and, in the progress of society, they were introduced 
about the same asra into the national assemblies of France, 
England, and Germany. The Hanseatic League commanded 
the trade and navigation of the north : the confederates of 
the Rhine secured the peace and intercourse of the inland 
country ; the influence of the cities has been adequate to 
their wealth and policy, and their negative still invali- 
dates the acts of the two superior colleges of electors and 
princes. 149 

It is in the fourteenth century that we may view in the 
strongest light the state and contrast of the Roman empire 
of Germany, which no longer held, except on the borders 
of the Rhine and Danube, a single province of Trajan or 
Constantine. Their unworthy successors were the counts 
of Hapsburg, of Nassau, of Luxemburgh, and Schwartzen- 
burgh : the emperor Henry the Seventh procured for his 
son the crown of Bohemia, and his grandson Charles the 
Fourth was born among a people strange and barbarous in 
the estimation of the Germans themselves. 150 After the 
excommunication of Lewis of Bavaria, he received the gift 
or promise of the vacant empire from the Roman pontiffs, 
who, in the exile and captivity of Avignon, affected the 
dominion of the earth. The death of his competitors 
united the electoral college, and Charles was unanimously 
saluted king of the Romans, and future emperor; a title 
which, in the same age, was prostituted to the Cassars of 
Germany and Greece. The German emperor was no more 

149 In the immense labyrinth of the jus publicum of Germany, I must either 
quote one writer or a thousand ; and! had rather trust to one faithful guide, than 
transcribe, on credit, a multitude of names and passages. That guide is M. 
Pfeffel, the author of the best legal and constitutional history that I know of any 
country (Nouvel Abrege Chronologique de PHistoire et du Droit public Alle- 
magne ; Paris, 1776, 2 vols, in 4to). His learning and judgment have discerned 
the most interesting facts ; his simple brevity comprises them in a narrow space. 
His chronological order distributes them under the proper dates ; and his elabo- 
rate index collects them under their respective heads. To this work, in a less 
perfect state, Dr. Robertson was gratefully indebted for that masterly sketch 
which traces even the modern changes of the Germanic body. The Corpus His- 
torian Germanicpe of Struvius has been likewise consulted, the more usefully, as 
that huge compilation is fortified in every page with the original texts.* 

1E0 Yet, personal I if, Charles IV. mxist not he considered as a Barbarian. After 
his education at Paris, he recovered the use of the Bohemian, his native, idiom ; 
and (he emperor conversed and wrote with equal facility in French, Latin, Ital- 
ian, and German (Struvius, pp. 615, 616). Petrarch always represents him as a 
polite and learned prince. 



* For the rise and progress of the Hanseatic League, consult the authoritative 
history by Sartorius ; Geschichte des Hanseatischen Bundes. 3 Theile, Gottingen, 
1802. New and improved edition by Lappenberg. Hamburg, 1830. The original 
Hanseatic League comprehended Cologne and many of the great cities in the 
Netherlands and on the Bhine.— M. 



OP THE HUMAN EMP1EE. 311 

than the elective and impotent magistrate of an aristocracy 
of princes, who had not left him a village that he might 
call his own. His best prerogative was the right of presid- 
ing and proposing in the national senate, which was con- 
vened at his summons ; and his native kingdom of Bohe- 
mia, less opulent than the adjacent city of Nuremberg, was 
the firmest seat of his power and the richest source of his 
revenue. The army with which he passed the Alps con- 
sisted of three hundred horse. In the cathedral of St. Am- 
brose, Charles was crowned with the iron crown, which tradi- 
tion ascribed to the Lombard monarchy ; but he was admit- 
ted only with a peaceful train ; the gates of the city were 
shut upon him ; and the king of Italy was held a captive 
by the arms of the Visconti, whom he confirmed in the 
sovereignty of Milan. In the Vatican he was again 
crowned with the golden crown of the empire ; but, in 
obedience to a secret treaty, the Roman emperor imme- 
diately withdrew without reposing a single night within the 
walls of Rome. The eloquent Petrarch, 151 whose fancy re- 
vived the visionary glories of the Capitol, deplores and up- 
braids the ignominious flight of the Bohemian ; and even 
his contemporaries could observe, that the sole exercise of his 
authority was in the lucrative sale of privileges and titles. 
The gold of Italy secured the election of his son ; but such 
was the shameful poverty of the Roman emperor, that his per- 
son was arrested by a butcher in the streets of Worms, and 
was detained in the public inn, as a pledge or hostage for 
the payment of his expenses. 

From this humiliating scene, let us turn to the apparent 
majesty of the same Charles in the diets of the empire. 
The golden bull, which fixes the Germanic constitution, is 
promulgated in the style of a sovereign and legislator. A 
hundred princes bowed before his throne, and exalted their 
own dignity by the voluntary honors which they yielded to 
their chief or minister. At the royal banquet, the hered- 
itary great officers, the' seven electors, who in rank and title 
were equal to kings, performed their solemn and domestic 
service of the palace. The seals of the triple kingdom 
were borne in state by the archbishops of Mentz, Cologne, 
and Treves, the perpetual arch-chancellors of Germany, 
Italy, and Aries. The great marshal, on horseback, exer- 

»i Besides the German and Italian historians, the expedition of Charles IV. is 
painted in lively and original colors in the curious Mem oj res sur la Vie de Pe- 
trarque, torn. iii. pp. 376-430, by the Abbe" de Sade, whose prolixity has never been 
blamed by any reader of taste and curiosity. 



312 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

cised his function with a silver measure of oats, which he 
emptied on the ground, and immediately dismounted to 
regulate the order of the guests. The great steward, the 
count palatine of the Rhine, placed the dishes on the table. 
The great chamberlain, the margrave of Brandenburgh, 
presented, after the repast, the golden ewer and basin, to 
wash. The king of Bohemia, as great cup-bearer, was rep- 
resented by the emperor's brother, the duke of Luxem- 
burgh and Brabant ; and the procession was closed by the 
great huntsmen, w T ho introduced a boar and a stag, with a 
loud chorus of horns and hounds. 152 Nor was the suprem- 
acy of the emperor confined to Germany alone : the hered- 
itary monarchs of Europe confessed the preeminence of bis 
rank and dignity : he was the first of the Christian princes, 
the temporal head of the great republic of the West : 158 to 
his person the title of majesty was long appropriated ; and 
he disputed with the pope the sublime prerogative of cre- 
ating kings and assembling councils. The oracle of the 
civil law^, the learned Bartolus, was a pensioner of Charles 
the Fourth, and his school resounded with the doctrine, 
that the Roman emperor was the rightful sovereign of the 
earth, from the rising to the setting sun. The contrary 
opinion w r as condemned, not as an error, but as a heresy, 
since even the gospel had pronounced, " And there went 
forth a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world 
should be taxed." 154 

If we annihilate the interval of time and space between 
Augustus and Charles, strong and striking will be the con- 
trast between che two Caesars ; the Bohemian who con- 
cealed his weakness under the mask of ostentation, and the 
Roman, w T ho disguised his strength under the semblance of 
modesty. At the head of his victorious legions, in his 
reign over the sea and land, from the Nile and Euphrates 
to the Atlantic Ocean, Augustus professed himself the ser- 
vant of the state and the equal of his fellow-citizens. The 
conqueror of Rome and her provinces assumed the popular 
and legal form of a censor, a consul, and a tribune. His 
will was the law of mankind, but in the declaration of his 
laws he borrowed the voice of the senate and people ; and 
from their decrees their master accepted and renewed his 

152 See the whole ceremony in Struvius, p. 629. 

153 The republic of Europe, with the pope and emperor at its head, was never 
represented with more dignity than in the council of Constance. See Lenfant's 
History of that assembly. 

1& * Gravina, Oiigines Juris Civilis, p. 108. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 313 

temporary commission to administer the republic. In his 
dress, his domestics, 166 his titles, in all the offices of social 
life, Augustus maintained the character of a private Roman ; 
and his most artful flatterers respected the secret of his ab- 
solute and perpetual monarchy. 

155 Six thousand urns have been discovered of the slaves and freedmen of Au- 
gustus and Livia. So minute was the division of office, that one slave was ap- 
pointed to weigh the wool which was spun by the empress's maids, another for 
the care of her lapdog, &c. (Cainere Sepolchrale, by Bianchini. Extract of his 
work in the Bibliotheque Italique, torn. iv. p. 175. His Eloge, by Fontenelle, 
torn. vi. p. 356). But these servants were of the same rank, and possibly not more 
numerous than those of Bollio or Lentulus. They only prove the general riches 
of the citv. 



314 THE DECLINE AND FALL 



CHAPTER L. 

DESCRIPTION OP ARABIA AND ITS INHABITANTS. BIRTH, 

CHARACTER, AND DOCTRINE OF MAHOMET.— HE PREACHES 
AT MECCA. FLIES TO MEDINA. PROPAGATES HIS RELI- 
GION BY THE SWORD. VOLUNTARY OR RELUCTANT SUB- 
MISSION OF THE ARABS HIS DEATH AND SUCCESSORS. 

THE CLAIMS AND FORTUNES OF AH AND HIS DE- 
SCENDANTS. 

After pursuing above six hundred years the fleeting 
Ca3sars of Constantinople and Germany, I now descend, in 
the reign of Heraclius, on the eastern borders of the Greek 
monarchy. While the state was exhausted by the Persian 
war, and the church was distracted by the Nestorian and 
Monophysite sects, Mahomet, with the sword in one hand 
and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins 
of Christianity and of Rome. The genius of the Arabian 
prophet, the manners of his nation, and the spirit of his 
religion, involve the causes of the decline and fall of the 
Eastern empire : and our eyes are curiously intent on one 
of the most memorable revolutions, which have impressed 
a new and lasting character on the nations of the globe. 1 

In the vacant space oetween Persia, Syria, Egypt, and 
^Ethiopia, that Arabian peninsula 2 may be conceived as a 

1 As in this and the following chanter l snail display much Arabic learning. 7 
must profess my total ignorance of the Oriental tongues, and my gratitude to the 
learned interpreters, who have transfused their science into the Latin. French, 
and English languages. Their collections, versions, and histories, I shall occa- 
sionally notice. 

2 The geographers of Arabia may be divided into three classes : 1. The Greeks 
and Latins, whose progressive knowledge may be traced in Agatharehides (de 
Mari Rubro, in Hudson, Geograph. Minor torn, i,), Diodorus Siculus (torn. i. 1. 
ii. pp. 159-1*67, 1. iii. pp. 211-216, edit. Wes-eling), Strabo (1. xvi. pp 1112-1114. 
from Eratosthenes, pp. 1122-1132, from Artemidorus). Dionvsius (Penegesis, 027- 
060), Pliny (Hist. Natur. v. 12, vi. 32), and Ptolemy (Descript. et Tebulre Urbhiro, 
in Hudson, torn iii). The Arabic writers, who have treated the subject with the 
zeal of patriotism or devotion: the extracts of Pocock (Specimen Hist. A ra bum, 
pp. 125-128) from the Geography of the Sherif al Edrissi. vender us still more 
dissatisfied with the version or abridgement (pp. 24-27, 44-56] 108, &c., 110, £*e., 
which the Maronites have published under the absurd title of Geographia Nu- 
biensis (Paris, 1610); but the Latin and French translators, Greaves (in Hudson 
torn, iii.1 and Galland (Voyage de la Palestine par La Poque, pp. 26.5-346), have 
opened to us the Arabia of Abulfeda, the most copious and correct account of 
tfie peninsula, which may be enriched, however, from the Bibliotheque Orientale 
of D'Herbelot, p 120, et alibi passim. 3. The European travellers; among whom 
Sliaw (pp. 438-455) and Niebnhr (Description, 1773 ; Voyages, torn. i. 1776) deserve 
an honorable distinction; Busching (Geographie par Berenger, torn. viii. pp. 416. 



OF THE SOMAN EMPIRE. 315 

triangle of spacious but irregular dimensions. From the 
northern point of Beles 8 on the Euphrates, a line of fifteen 
hundred miles is terminated by the Straits of Babelmandeb 
and the land of frankincense. About half this length may 
be allowed for the middle breadth, from east to west, from 
Bassora to Suez, from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. 4 
The sides of the triangle are gradually enlarged, and the 
southern basis presents a front of a thousand miles to the 
Indian Ocean. The entire surface of the peninsula exceeds 
in a fourfold proportion that of Germany or France ; but 
the far greater part has been justly stigmatized with the 
epithets of the stony and the sandy. Even the wilds of 
Tartary are decked, by the hand of nature, with lofty trees 
and luxuriant herbage ; and the lonesome traveller derives 
a sort of comfort and society from the presence of vegetable 
life. But in the dreary waste of Arabia, a boundless level 
of sand is intersected by sharp and naked mountains ; and 
the face of the desert, without shade or shelter, is scorched 
by the direct and intense rays of a tropical sun. Instead of 
refreshing breezes, the winds, particularly from the south- 
west, diffuse a noxious and even deadly vapor ; the hillocks 
of sand which they alternately raise and scatter, are com- 
pared to the billows of the ocean, and whole caravans, 
whole armies, have been lost and buried in the whirlwind. 
The common benefits of water are an object of desire and 
contest ; and such is the scarcity of wood, that some art is 
requisite to preserve and propagate the element of fire. 
Arabia is destitute of navigable rivers, which fertilize the 
soil, and convey its produce to the adjacent regions : the 
torrents that fall from the hills are imbibed by the thirsty 
earth : the rare and hardy plants, the tamarind or the 
acacia, that strike their roots into the clefts of the rocks, are 
nourished by the dew T s of the night: a scanty supply of rain 
is collected in cisterns and aqueducts : the wells and springs 

510) has compiled with judgment ; and D'Anville's Maps (Orbis Veteribus Notus, 
and Ire Partie de l'Asie) should lie before the reader, with his Geographie An- 
cienne, torn- ii. pp. 208-231.* 

3 Abulfed. Descript. Arabise, p. 1. P'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre, pp. 19, 
20. It was in this place, the paradise or garden of a satrap, that Xenophon and 
the Greeks first passed the Euphrates (Anabasis, 1. i. c. 10, p. 29, edit. Wells). 

4 Ueland has proved, with much superfluous learning, 1. That our Red Sea 
(the Arabian Gulf) is no more than a part o£ the Mare Rubrum, the EpvOoa 
^a\acr(Tri of the ancients, which was extended to the indefinite spare of the In- 
dian Ocean. 2. That the synonymous words epvOpos ai0.o<}>, allude to the color of 
the blacks or negroes (Dissert. Miscell. torn. i. p. 59-117). 



* Of modern travellers may be mentioned the adventurer who called himself 
Ali Bey, but above all, the intelligent, the enterprising, the accurate Burckhardt. 
— M. 



316 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

are the secret treasure of the desert ; and the pilgrim of 
Mecca, 5 after many a dry and sultry march, is disgusted by 
the taste of the waters which have rolled over a bed of sul- 
phur or salt. Such is the general and genuine picture of 
the climate of Arabia. The experience of evil enhances the 
value of any local or partial enjoyments. A shady grove, 
a green pasture, a stream of fresh water, are sufficient to 
attract a colony of sedentary' Arabs to the fortunate spots 
which can afford food and refreshment to themselves and 
their cattle, and which encourage their industry in the cul- 
tivation of the palm-tree and the vine. The high lands that 
border on the Indian Ocean arc distinguished by their su- 
perior plenty of wood and water ; the air is more temper- 
ate, the fruits are more delicious, the animals and the human 
race are more numerous : the fertility of the soil invites and 
rewards the toil of the husbandman ; and the peculiar gifts 
of frankincense 6 and coffee have attracted in different ages 
the merchants of the world. If it be compared with the 
rest of the peninsula, this sequestered region may truly de- 
serve the appellation of the happy ; and the splendid color- 
ing of fancy and fiction has been suggested by contrast, and 
countenanced by distance. It was for this earthly paradise 
that Nature had reserved her choicest favors and her most 
curious workmanship : the incompatible blessings of luxury 
and innocence were ascribed to the natives : the soil was 
impregnated with gold 7 and gems, and both the land and 
sea were taught to exhale the odors of aromatic sweets. 
This division of the sandy, the stony, and the happy, so 
familiar to the Greeks and Latins, is unknown to the 
Arabians themselves ; and it is singular enough, that a 
country, whose language and inhabitants have ever been 

B In the thirty days, or stations, between Cairo and Mecca, there are fifteen 
destitute of good water. See the route of the Hadjees, in Shaw's Travels, p. 477. 

'■ The aromalics, especially the thus, or frankincense, of Arabia, occupy the 
xiith book of Pliny. Our great poet (Paradise Lost, 1. iv.) introduces, in a simile, 
the spicy odors that are blown by the north-east wind from the Sabajan coast : — 

Many a league, 

Pleased with the grateful scent, old Ocean smiles. 
(Plin. Hist. Natur. xii. 42.) 

7 Agatharchides affirms, that lumps of pure gold were found, from the size ot 
an olive to that of a nut ; that iron was twice, and silver ten times, the value of 
gold (de Mari Rubro, p. 60). These real or imaginary treasures are vanished ; and 
no gold mines are at present known in Arabia (Kiebuhr, Description, p. 124).* 



* A brilliant passage in the geographical poem of JMonysius Periegetes em- 
bodies the notions of the ancienls on the wealth and fertility of Yemen. Greek 
mythology, and the traditions of the " gorgeous east," of India as well as Arabia, 
are mingled together in indiscriminate splendor. Compare, on the southern 
coast of Arabia, the recent travels of Lieut. Wellsted.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 317 

the same, should scarcely retain a vestige of its ancient 
geography. The maritime districts of Bahrein and Oman 
are opposite to the realm of Persia. The kingdom of Yemen 
displays the limits, or at least the situation, of Arabia 
Felix : the name of Neged is extended over the inland 
space ; and the birth of Mahomet has illustrated the prov- 
ince of Hejaz along the coast of the Red Sea. 8 

The measure of population is regulated by the means 
of subsistence ; and the inhabitants of this vast peninsula 
might be outnumbered by the subjects of a fertile and in- 
dustrious province. Along the shores of the Persian Gulf, 
of the ocean, and even of the Red Sea, the Icthyophagi? or 
fish-eaters, continued to wander in quest of their precarious 
food. In this primitive and abject state, which ill deserves 
the name of society, the human brute, without arts or laws, 
almost without sense or language, is poorly distinguished 
from the rest of the animal creation. Generations and ages 
might roll away in silent oblivion, and the helpless savage 
was restrained from multiplying his race by the wants and 
pursuits which confined his existence to the narrow margin 
of the sea-coast. But in an early period of antiquity the 
great body of the Arabs had emerged from this scene of 
misery ; and as the naked wilderness could not maintain a 
people of hunters, they rose at once to the more secure and 
plentiful condition of the pastoral life. The same life is uni- 
formly pursued by the roving tribes of the desert ; and in 
the portrait of the modern Bedoiceens, we may trace the 
features of their ancestors, 10 who, in the age of Moses or 
Mahomet, dwelt under similar tents, and conducted their 
horses, and camels, and sheep, to the same springs and the 
sinne pastures. Our toil is lessened, and our wealth is in- 
creased, by our dominion over the useful animals; and the 
Arabian shepherd had acquired the absolute possession of a 

8 Consult, peruse, and study the Specimen Historian Arabum of Pocock (Oxon. 
1650, in 4to.). The thirty pages of text and version are extracted from the Dynas- 
ties of Gregory A bulpharagius, which Pocock afterwards translated (Oxon. 10G.'>, 
in 4to.) ; the three hundred and fifty-eight notes form a classic and original work 
on the Arabian antiquities. 

9 Arrian remarks the Icthyophagi of the coast of Hejez (Periplus Maris Ery- 
thrrei, p. 12), and beyond Aden (p. i5). It seems probable that the shores of the 
Red Sea (in the largest sense) were occupied by these savages in the time, per- 
haps, of Cyrus ; but I can hardly believe that any cannibals were left among the 
savages in the reign of Justinian (Procop. de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 19). 

ll) See the Specimen Historian Arabum of Pocock, pp. 2,5, 86. &c. The journey 
of M. d'Arvieux. in 1664, to the camp of the emir of Mount Carmel (Voyage de la 
Palestine. Amsterdam, 1718). exhibits a pleasing and original picture of the life 
of the Bedoweens. which may be illustrated from Niebuhr (Description de l'Ara- 
bie, p. 327-314) and Volney (torn. i. p. 343-385), the last and most judicious of our 
Syrian travellers. 



3J8 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

faithful friend and a laborious slave. 11 Arabia, in the opin- 
ion of the naturalist, is the genuine and original country of 
the horse; the climate most propitious, not indeed to the 
size, but to the spirit and swiftness, of that generous ani- 
mal. The merit of the Barb, the Spanish, and the English 
breed, is derived from a mixture of Arabian blood : 12 the 
Bedoweens preserve, with superstitious care, the honors and 
the memory of the purest race : the males are sold at a high 
price, but the females are seldom alienated ; and the birth 
of a noble ioal was esteemed, among the tribes, as a subject 
of joy and mutual congratulation. These horses are educa- 
ted in the tents, among the children of the Arabs, with a 
tender familiarity, which trains them in the habits of gentle- 
ness and attachment. They are accustomed only to walk 
and to gallop : their sensations are not blunted by the inces- 
sant abuse of the spur and the whip : their powers are 
reserved for the moments of flight and pursuit : but no 
sooner do they feel the touch of the hand or the stirrup, 
than they dart away with the swiftness of the wind ; and if 
their friend be dismounted in the rapid career, they instantly 
stop till he has recovered his seat. In the sands of Africa 
and Arabia, the camel is a sacred and precious gift. That 
strong and patient beast of burden can perform, without 
eating or drinking, a journey of several days ; and a reser- 
voir of fresh water is preserved in a large bag, a fifth stom- 
ach of the animal, whose body is imprinted with the marks 
of servitude : a larger breed is capable of transporting a 
weight of a thousand pounds ; and the dromedary, of a 
lighter and more active frame, outstrips the fleetest courser 
in the race. Alive or dead, almost every ]3art of the camel 
is serviceable to man : her milk is plentiful and nutritious : 
the young and tender flesh has the taste of veal : 13 a valuable 
salt is extracted from the urine : the dung supplies the defi- 
ciency of fuel ; and the long hair, which falls each year and 
is renewed, is coarsely manufactured into the garments^ the 

11 Head (it is no unpleasing task) the incomparable articles of the Horse and 
the Camel, in the Natural History of M. de Button. 

J 2 For the Arabian horses, see D'Arvieux (pp. 159-173) and Niebuhr (pp. 142- 
144). At the end of the xiiith century, the horses of Neged were esteemed sure- 
footed, those of Yemen strong and serviceable, those of Hejaz most noble. The 
horses of Europe, the tenth and last class, were generally despised as having too 
much body and too little spirit (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 339) . their strength 
was requisite to bear the weight of the knight and his armoi. 

13 Qui carnibus camelorum vesci solent odii tenaces sunt, was fhe opinion of 
an Arabian physician (Pocock, Specimen, p. 88). Mahomet himselt, who wib 
fond of milk, prefers the cow, and does not even mention the camel ; hut the 
diet of Mecca and Medina was already more luxurious (Uagniei, Vie Ue Mahomet, 
torn. iii. p. 404). 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 319 

furniture, and the tents of the Bedoweens. In the rainy 
seasons, they consume the rare and insufficient herbage of 
the desert: during the heats of summer and the scarcity of 
winter, they remove their encampments to the sea-coast, the 
hills of Yemen, or the neighborhood of the Euphrates, and 
have often extorted the dangerous license of visiting the 
banks of the Nile, and the villages of Syria and Palestine. 
The life of a wandering Arab is a life of danger and distress ; 
and though sometimes, by rapine or exchange, he may ap- 
propriate the fruits of industry, a private citizen in Europe 
is in the possession of more solid and pleasing luxury than 
the proudest emir, who marches in the field at the head of 
ten thousand horse. 

Yet an essential difference may be found between the 
hordes of Scythia and the Arabian tribes ; since many of 
the latter were collected into towns, and employed in the 
labors of trade and agriculture. A part of their time and 
industry was still devoted to the management of their 
cattle : they mingled, in peace and war, with their brethren 
of the desert ; and the Bedoweens derived from their useful 
intercourse some supply of their wants, and some rudiments 
of art and knowledge. Among the forty-two cities of Ara- 
bia, 14 enumerated by Abulfeda, the most ancient and populous 
were situate in the happy Yemen : the towers of Saana, 15 
and the marvellous reservoir of Merab, 16 were constructed 
by the kings of the Homerites; but their profane lustre was 
eclipsed by the prophetic glories of Medina 17 and Mecca, 18 

14 Yet Marcian of Herarlea (in Periplo, p. 16, In torn. i. Hudson, Minor. Geo- 
graph.) reckons one hundred and sixty-four towns in Arabia Felix. The size of 
the towns might be email — the faith of the writer might be Luge. 

13 It is compared by Abulfoda (in Hudson, torn. in. p. 51) to Damascus, and is 
still the residence of the Imam of Yemen (Voyages de Niebuhr, torn. i. pp. 331- 
342). Saana is twenty-four parasangs from Dafar (Abulfeda, p. 51), and sixty- 
eight from Aden (p. 513). 

10 Pocock, Specimen, p. 57. Nubiensis, p. 52. Meriaba, or Merab, six miles 
in circumference, was destroyed by the legions of A ugvstus (Tlin. Hist. Nat. vi. 
32), and had not revived in thexivth century (Abulfed. Descript. Arab. p. 58).* 

17 The name of city, Merfirid, was app opriated, ko.t' i£6xv»* to Yatreb (the 
latrippa of the Creeks), the seat of the prophet. The distances from Medina are 
reckoned by Abulfeda in stations, or day's journey of a caravan (p. 15) : to Bah- 
rein, xv. ; to Bassora, xviii. ; to Cufah, xx. ; to Damascus or Palestine, xx. ; to 
Cairo, xxv. ; to Mecca, x. ; f ora jMecca to Saana (p. 52), or Aden, xxx. ; to Cairo, 
xxxi. days, or 412 hours (Shaw's Travels, p. 477) ; which, according to the estimate 
of D'Anville (Mesures Itineraires, p. 9f>), allows about twenty-live English miles 
for a day's journey. From the land of frankincense (Hadramaut, in Yemen, be- 
tween Aden and Cape Fartasch) to Gaza in Syria, Pliny (Hist. Nat. xii. 32) com- 
putes lxv. mansions of camels. These measures may assist fancy and elucidate 
facts. 

18 Our notions of Mecca must be drawn from the Arabians (D'Herbelot, Bib- 



* See note 2 to chap. i. The destruction of Meriaba by the Romans is doubtful. 
The town never recovered the inundation which took place from the bursting of 
a large reservoir of water — an event of great importance in the Arabian annals, 
and discussed at considerable length by modern Orientalists.— M. 



320 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

near the Red Sea, and at the distance from each other of 
two hundred and seventy miles. The last of these holy 
places was known to the Greeks under the name of Mac- 
oraba ; and the termination of the word is expressive of its 
greatness, which has not, indeed, in the most flourishing 
period, exceeded the size and populousness of Marseilles. 
Some latent motive, perhaps of superstition, must have im- 
pelled the founders, in the choice of a most unpromising 
situation. They erected their habitations of mud or stone, 
in a plain about two miles long and one mile broad, at the 
foot of three barren mountains : the soil is a rock ; the water 
even of the holy well of Zemzem is bitter or brackish ; the 
pastures are remote from the city ; and grapes are trans- 
ported above seventy miles from the gardens of Tayef. The 
fame and spirit of the Koreishites, who reigned in Mecca, 
were conspicuous among the Arabian tribes ; but their un- 
grateful soil refused the labors of agriculture, and their 
position was favorable to the enterprises of trade. By the 
seaport of Gedda, at the distance only of forty miles, they 
maintained an easy correspondence with Abyssinia ; and that 
Christian kingdom afforded the first refuge to the disciples 
of Mahomet. The treasures of Africa were conveyed over 
the Peninsula to Gerrha or Katif, in the province of Bah- 
rein, a city built, as it is said, of rock-salt, by the^Chaldaean 
exiles ; 19 and from thence witli the native pearls of the Per- 
sian Gulf, they were floated on rafts to the mouth of the 
Euphrates. Mecca is placed almost at an equal distance, a 
month's journey, between Yemen on the right, vnd Syria on 
the left hand. The former was the winter, the latter the 
summer, station of her caravans ; and their seasonable arri- 
val relieved the ships of India from the tedious and trouble- 
some navigation of the Red Sea. In the markets of Saana 

and Merab, in the harbors of Oman and Aden, the camels 

i 

liotheque Orientale, pp. 3C8-371. Pocock, Specimen, pp. 125-128. Abulfeda, pp. 
1 1-40). As no unbeliever is permitted to enter the city, our travellers are silent ; 
and the short hints of Thevenot (Voyages du Levant, part i. p. 490) are taken 
from the suspicious mouth of an African renegado. Some Persians counted C000 
houses. (Chardin. torn, iv. p. 167.)* 

19 Strabo, 1. xvi. p. 1110. See one of these salt houses near Bassora, in D'Her- 
belot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 0. 



* Even in the time of Gibbon, Mecca had not been so inaccessible to Euro- 
peans. It had been visited by Ludovico Barthema, and by one Joseph Pitts, of 
Exeier, who was taken prisoner by the Moors, and forcibly converted to Mahom- 
etanism. His volume is a curious, though plain, account of his sufferings and 
travels. Since that time Mecca has been entered, and the ceremonies witnessed, 
by Dr. Seetzen. who-;e papers were unfortunately lost; by the Spaniard, who 
called himself Ali Bey; and, lastly, by Burckhardt. whose description leavefl 
nothing wanting to satisfy the curiosity.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 321 

of the Koreishites were laden with a precious cargo of aro- 
matics ; a supply of corn and manufactures was purchased 
in the fairs of JSostra and Damascus ; the lucrative exchange 
diffused plenty and riches in the streets of Mecca ; and the 
noblest of her sons united the love of arms with the profes- 
sion of merchandise.' 20 

The perpetual independence of the Arabs has been the 
theme of praise among strangers and natives ; and the arts 
of controversy transform this singular event into a prophecy 
and a miracle, in favor of the posterity of Ismael. 21 Some 
exceptions, that can neither be dismissed nor eluded, render 
this mode of reasoning as indiscreet as it is superfluous; the 
kingdom of Yemen has been successively subdued by the 
Abyssinians, the Persians, the sultans of Egypt, 22 and the 
Turks ; 23 the holy cities of Mecca and Medina have repeat- 
edly bowed under a Scythian tyrant; and the Roman prov- 
ince of Arabia M embraced the peculiar wilderness in which 
Ismael and his sons must have pitched their tents in the face 
of their brethren. Yet these exceptions are temporary or 
local ; the body of the nation has escaped the yoke of the 
,most powerful monarchies : the arms of Sesostris and Cyrus, 
of Pompey and Trajan, could never achieve the conquest of 

20 Mirum dictu ex innumerie populis pars aequa in commerciis aut In latro- 
ciniis degit (Plin. Hist. Nat. vi. 32). See Sale's Koran, Sura, cvi. p. 50,'?. Pocoek, 
Specimen, p. 2. D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 381 . Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, 
p. 5. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. pp. 72, 120, 126, &c. 

21 A nameless doctor (Universal Hist. vol. xx. octavo edition) has formally 
demonstrated the truth of Christianity by the independence of the Arabs. A 
critic, besides the exceptions of fact, might dispute the meaning of the text (Gen. 
xvi. 12)» the extei t of the application, and the foundation of the pedigree.* 

" It was subdued, A. D. 1173, by a brother of the great Saladin, who founded 
a dynasty of Curds or Ayoubites (Guignes, Hist, des Huns, torn. i. p. 425. D'Her- 
belot, p. 477). 

23 By the lieutenant of Soliman I. (A. D. 1538) and Selim II. (1568). See Can- 
temir's Hist, of the Othman Empire, pp. 201, 221. The pacha, who resided at 
Saana. commanded twenty-one bevs ; but no revenue was ever remitted to the 
Porte (Marsigli, Stato Militare dell, Imperio Ottomanno, p. 124), and the Turks 
were expelled about the year 1630 (Niebuhr, p. 167, 168). 

24 Of the Roman province, under the name of Arabia and the third Palestine, 
the principal cities were Bostra and Petra, which dated their sera from the year 
105, when they were subdued by Palma, a lieutenant of Trajan (Dion. Cassius, 1. 
lxviii). Petra was the capital of the Nabathaeans ; whose name is derived from 
the eldest of the sous of Ismael (Gen. xxv. 12. &c., with the Commentaries of 
Jeroin, Le Clerc, and Calmet).t Justinian relinquished a palm country of ten 
days' journey to the south of iElah (Procop. de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 19), and the 
Romans maintained a centurion and a custom-house (Arrian in Periplo Maris 
Eryihraei, p. 11, in Hudson, torn. L), at a place (\evK-q kw^tj, Pagus Albus. Hawara) 
in the territory of Medina (D'Anville, Memoire sur PEgypte, p. 243). These real 
possessions, and some naval inroads of Trajan (Peripl. pp. 14, 15), are magnified 
by history and medals into the Roman conquest of Arabia. 



* See note 3 to chap. xlvi. The latter point is probably the least contestible of 
the three.— M. 

t On the ruins of Petra. see the travels of Messrs. Irby and Mangles, and of 
Leon de Laborde. — M. 

Vol. IV.— 21 



322 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Arabia ; the present sovereign of the Turks 25 may exercise 
a shadow of jurisdiction, but his pride is reduced to solicit 
the friendship of a people, whom it is dangerous to provoke, 
and fruitless to attack. The obvious causes of their freedom 
are inscribed on the character and country of the Arabs. 
Many ages before Mahomet, 26 their intrepid valor had been 
severely felt by their neighbors in offensive and defensive 
war, The patient and active virtues of a soldier are insen- 
sibly nursed in the habits and discipline of a pastoral life* 
The care of the sheep and camels is abandoned to the women 
of the tribe ; but the martial youth, under the banner of the 
emir, is ever on horseback, and in the field, to practice the 
exercise of the bow, the javelin, and the cimeter. The long 
memory of their independence is the firmest pledge of its per- 
petuity, and succeeding generations are animated to prove 
their descent, and to maintain their inheritance. Their do- 
mestic feuds are suspended on the approach of a common 
enemy ; and in their last hostilities against the Turks, the 
caravan of Mecca was attacked and pillaged by fourscore 
thousand of the confederates. When they advance to bat- 
tle, the hope of victory is in the front ; in the rear, the as- 
surance of a retreat. Their horses and camels, who, in eight 
or ten days, can perform a march of four or five hundred 
miles, disappear before the conqueror; the secret waters of 
the desert elude his search ; and his victorious troops are 
consumed with thirst, hunger, and fatigue, in the pursuit of 
an invisible foe, who scorns his efforts, and safely reposes in 
the heart of the burning solitude. The arms and deserts of 
the Bedoweens are not only the safeguards of their own 
freedom, but the barriers also of the happy Arabia, whose 
inhabitants, remote from war, are enervated by the luxury 
of the soil and climate. The legions of Augustus melted 
away in disease and lassitude; 27 and it is only by a naval 
power that the reduction of Yemen has been successfully 

25 Niebuhr (Description de l'Arabie, pp. 302, 303, 329-331) affords the most re- 
cent and authentic intelligence of the Turkish empire in Arabia.* 

26 Diodoi us Siculus (torn. ii. 1. xix. pp. 390-3W. edit. Wesseling) has clearly 
exposed the freedom of the Nabathsean Arabs, who resisted the arms of Antig- 
onus and his son. 

- 7 Strabo, 1. xvi. pp. 1127-1129. Plin. Hist. Xatur vi. 32. ^Elius Gallus landed 
near Medina, and marched near a thousand miles into the part of Yemen between 
Mareb and the Ocean. The non ante devictis Sabere regibus (Od. i. 29), and the 
intacti Arabum thesauri (Od. iii. 24) of Horace, attest the virgin purity of Arabia. 



* Niebuhr's, notwithstanding the multitude of later travellers, maintains its 
ground, as the classical work on Arabia.— Al. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 323 

attempted. When Mahomet erected his holy standard, 28 
that kingdom was a province of the Persian empire; yet 
seven princes of the Homerites still reigned in the moun- 
tains ; and the vicegerent of Chosroes was tempted to for- 
get his distant country and his unfortunate master. The 
historians of the age of Justinian represent the state of the 
independent Arabs, who were divided by interest or affec- 
tion in the long quarrel of the East : the tribe of Gassan 
was allowed to encamp on the Syrian territory : the princes 
of Hira were permitted to form a city about forty miles to 
the southward of the ruins of Babylon. Their service in 
the field was speedy and vigorous ; but their friendship was 
venal, their faith inconstant, their enmity capricious; it was 
an easier task to excite than to disarm these roving barba- 
rians; and, in the familiar intercourse of war, they learned 
to see, and to despise, the splendid weakness both of Rome 
and of Persia. From Mecca to the Euphrates, the Arabian 
tribes 29 were confounded by the Greeks and Latins, under 
the general appellation of Saracens, 30 a name which every 
Christian mouth has been taught to pronounce with terror 
and abhorrence. 

The slaves of domestic tyranny may vainly exult in their 
national independence : but the Arab is personally free; and 
he enjoys, in some degree, the benefits of society, without 
forfeiting the prerogatives of nature. In every tribe, super- 
stition, or gratitude, or fortune, has exalted a particular 

28 Sec the imperfect history of Yemen in Pocock, Specimen, pp. 55-6G, of Hira, 
pp. 66-74, of Gassan, pp. 75-78, as far as it could be known or preserved in the 
time of ignorance.* 

2y The 'S.apaKrjifLKa <f>v\a, /J.vpiao'e? ravra, *at to n\e~i<TTOV avTu>v eprj/u.evo/J.ot, KaX 

aSe'o-TroToi, are described by Menander (Excerpt. Legation, p. 149), Procopius (de 
Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 17, 19, 1. ii. c. 10), and, in the most lively colors, by Annnianus 
Marcellinus (1. xiv. c. 4), who had spoken of them as early as the reign of Marcus. 
^ The name which, used by Ptolemy and Pliny in a more confined, by Am- 
mianus and Procopius in a larger, sense, has been derived, ridiculously, from 
Sarah, the wife of Abraham, obscurely from the village of Saraka (/juto. Naj/3ara- 
lovC, Stephan. de Urbibus). more plausibly from the Arabic words, which signify 
a thievish character, or Oriental situation (Hottinger, Hist. Oiiental. 1. i. c. i. pp. 
7,8. Pocock, Specimen; pr>. 33,35. Asseman. Bibliot. Orient, torn. iv. p. 567). 
Yet the last and most popular of these etymologies is refuted by Ptolemy (Ara- 
bia, pp. 2, 18, in Hudron, torn, iv.), who expresslv remarks the western and south- 
ern position of the Saracens, then an obscure tribe on the borders of Egypt. The 
appellation cannot therefore allude to any national character : and, since it was 
imposed by strangers, it must be found, not in the Arabic, but in a foreign lan- 
guage.t 



* Compare the Hist. Yemanse, published by Johannsen at Bonn, 1828, partic- 
ularly the translator's preface. — M. 

t Dr. Clarke (Travels, vol. ii. p. 491), after expressing contemptuous pity for 
Gibbon's ignorance, derives the word from Zara, Zaara, Sara, the Desert, whence 
Saraceni, the children of the Desert. De Marl6s adopts the derivation from 
Sarrik, a robber (Hist, des Arabes, vol. i. p. 30), St. Martin from Scharkiou, nor 
Sharkiin, Eastern, vol. xi. p. 55.— M. 



324 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

family above the heads of their equals. The dignities of 
sheick and emir invariably descend in this chosen race; but 
the order of succession is loose and precarious ; and the 
most worthy or aged of the noble kinsmen are preferred to 
the simple, though important, office of composing disputes 
by their advice, and guiding valor by their example. Even 
a female of sense and spirit has been permitted to command 
the countrymen of Zenobia. 31 The momentary junction of 
several tribes produces an army : their more lasting union 
constitutes a nation : and the supreme chief, the emir of 
emirs, whose banner is displayed at their head, may deserve, 
in the eyes of strangers, the honors of the kingly name. If 
the Arabian princes abuse their power, they are quickly 
punished by the desertion of their subjects, who had been 
accustomed to a mild and parental jurisdiction. Their spirit 
is free, their steps are unconfined, the desert is open, and the 
tribes and families are held together by a mutual and volun- 
tary compact. The softer natives of Yemen supported the 
pomp and majesty of a monarch ; but if he could not leave his 
palace without endangering his life, 32 the active powers of 
government must have been devolved on his nobles and 
magistrates. The cities of Mecca and Medina present, in the 
heart of Asia, the form, or rather the substance, of a com- 
monwealth. The grandfather of Mahomet, and his lineal 
ancestors, appear in foreign and domestic transactions as the 
princes of their country ; but they reigned, like Pericles at 
Athens, or the Medici at Florence, by the opinion of their 
wisdom and integrity ; their influence was divided with 
their patrimony ; and the sceptre was transferred from the 
uncles of the prophet to a younger branch of the tribe of 
Koreish. On solemn occasions they convened the assembly 
of the people ; and, since mankind must be either compelled 
or persuaded to obey, the use and reputation of oratory 
among the ancient Arabs is the clearest evidence of public 
freedom. 33 But their simple freedom was of a very differ- 
ent cast from the nice and artificial machinery of the Greek 

31 Saraceni .... mulieres aiunt in eos regnare (Expositio totius Mundi, p. 3, 
in Hudson, torn. iii). The reign of Ma via is famous in ecclesiastical story. Po- 
cock, Specimen, pp 69, 83. 

32 'E* Tuiv /3ac7iAeiu>i/ /xfj egeXdelv is the report of Agatharchides (de Mari Eubro, 
pp. 63. 64, in Hudson, torn, i.), Diodorns Siculus (torn. i. 1. iii. c. 47, p. 215), and 
Strabo (1. xvi. p. 1124). But I much suspect that this is one of the popular tales, 
or extraordinary accidents, which the credulity of travellers m often transforms 
into a fact, a custom, and a law. 

3i Nou gloriabantur antiquitus Arabes, nisi gladio, hospite, et eloqventiti 
(Sepliadius apud Pocock, Specimen, pp. 161, 162). This gilt of speech they shared 
only with the Persians ; and the sententious Arabs would probably have dis- 
dained the simple and sublime logic of Demosthenes. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 325 

and Roman republics, in which each member possessed an 
undivided share of the civil and political rights of the com- 
munity. In the more simple state of the Arabs, the nation 
is free, because each of her sons disdains a base submission 
to the will of a master. His breast is fortified by the aus- 
tere virtues of courage, patience, and sobriety ; the love of 
independence prompts him to exercise the habits of self- 
command ; and the fear of dishonor guards him from the 
meaner apprehension of pain, of danger, and of death. The 
gravity and firmness of the mind is conspicuous in his out- 
ward demeanor ; his speech is slow, weighty, and concise ; 
he is seldom provoked to laughter; his only gesture is that 
of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood ; 
and the sense of his own importance teaches him to accost 
hu equals without levity, and his superiors without awe. 34 
The liberty of the Saracens survived their conquests : the 
first caliphs indulged the bold and familiar language of their 
subjects; they ascended the pulpit to persuade and edify 
the congregation ; nor was it before the seat of empire was 
removed to the Tigris, that the Abbassides adopted the 
proud and j)ompous ceremonial of the Persian and Byzan- 
tine court. 

In the study of nations and men, we may observe the 
causes that render them hostile or friendly to each other ; 
that tend to narrow or enlarge, to mollify or exasperate, the 
social character. The separation of the Arabs from the 
rest of mankind has accustomed them to confound the ideas 
of stranger and enemy ; and the poverty of the land has 
introduced a maxim of jurisprudence, which they believe 
and practise to the present hour. They pretend, that, in 
the division of the earth, the rich and fertile climates were 
assigned to the other branches of the human family ; and 
that the posterity of the outlaw Ishmael might recover, by 
fraud or force, the portion of inheritance of which he had 
been unjustly deprived. According to the remark of Pliny, 
the Arabian tribes are equally addicted to theft and 
merchandise ; the caravans that traverse the desert are 
ransomed or pillaged ; and their neighbors, since the re- 

3< I must remind the reader that D'Arvieux, D'Herbelot, and Niehuhr. rep- 
resent, in the most lively colors, the manners and government of the Arabs, 
which are illustrated by many incidental passages in the Life of Mahomet.* 

* See, likewise, the curious romance of Antar, the most vivid and authentic 
picture of Arabian manners.— M. 



326 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

mote times of Job and Sesostris, 35 have been the victims of 
their rapacious spirit. If a Bedoween discovers from afar 
a solitary traveller, he rides furiously against him, crying, 
with a loud voice, " Undress thyself, thy aunt (my wife) is 
without a garment." A ready submission entitles him to 
mercy ; resistance will provoke the aggressor, and his own 
blood must expiate the blood which he presumes to shed in 
legitimate defence. A single robber, or a few associates, 
are branded with their genuine name ; but the exploits of a 
numerous band assume the character of lawful and honor- 
able war. The temper of a people thus armed against man- 
kind was doubly inflamed by the domestic license of rapine, 
murder, and revenge. In the constitution of Europe, the 
right of peace and war is now confined to a small, and the 
actual exercise to a much smaller, list of respectable poten- 
tates ; but each Arab, with impunity and renown, might 
point his javelin against the life of his countryman. The 
union of the nation consisted only in a vague resemblance 
of language and manners ; and in each community, the 
jurisdiction of the magistrate was mute and impotent. Of 
the time of ignorance which preceded Mahomet, seventeen 
hundred battles 36 are recorded by tradition : hostility was 
imbittered with the rancor of civil faction ; and the recital, 
in prose or verse, of an obsolete feud, was sufficient to re- 
kindle the same passions among the descendants of the hostile 
tribes. In private life ei r ery man, at least every family, 
was the judge and avenger of his own cause. The nice 
sensibility of honor, which weighs the insult rather than the 
injury, sheds its deadly venom on the quarrels of the Arabs : 
the honor of their women, and of their beards, is most 
easily wounded ; an indecent action, a contemptuous word, 
can be expiated only by the blood of the offender ; and such 
is their patient inveteracy, that they expect whole months 
and years the opportunity of revenge. A fine or compensa- 
tion for murder is familiar to the Barbarians of every age : 

35 Observe the first chapter of Job, and the Jong wall of 1500 stadia which Se- 
sostris built from Pelu>ium to Heliopolis (Diodor, Sicul. torn. i. 1. i. p. 67). Un- 
der the name of Hycsos, the shepherd kings, they had formerly subdued Egypt 
(Marsham, Canon. Cbron. pp. 98-163, &c.).* 

36 Or, according to another account, 1200 (D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, 
p. 75) : the two historians who wrote of the Ayam a! Arab, the battles of the A rabs, 
lived in the 9th and 10th century. The famous war of Dahes and Gabrah was 
occasioned by two horses, lasted forty years, and ended in a proverb (Pocock, 
Specimen, p. 48). 



* This origin of the Hycsos, though probable. Is by no means so certain ; there 
is some reason for supposing them Scythians.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 327 

but in Arabia the kinsmen of the dead are at liberty to 
accept the atonement, or to exercise with their own hands 
the law of retaliation. The refined malice of the Arabs re- 
fuses even the head of the murderer, substitutes an innocent 
for the guilty person, and transfers the penalty to the best 
and most considerable of the race by whom they have been 
injured. If he falls by their hands, they are exposed, in 
their turn, to the danger of reprisals, the interest and 
principal of the bloody debt are accumulated : the individ- 
uals of either family lead a life of malice and suspicion, 
and fifty years may sometimes elapse before the account of 
vengeance be finally settled. 87 This sanguinary spirit, 
ignorant of pity or forgiveness, has been moderated, how- 
ever, by the maxims of honor, which require in every 
private encounter some decent equality of age and strength, 
of numbers and weapons. An annual festival of two, per- 
haps of four, months, was observed by the Arabs before the 
time of Mahomet, during which their swords were relig- 
iously sheathed both in foreign and domestic hostility ; and 
this partial truce is more strongly expressive of the habits 
of anarchy and warfare. 38 

But the spirit of rapine and revenge was attempered by 
the milder influence of trade and literature. The solitary 
peninsula is encompassed by the most civilized nations of 
the ancient world ; the merchant is the friend of mankind ; 
and the annual caravans imported the first seeds of knowl- 
edge and politeness into the cities, and even the camps of 
the desert. Whatever may be the pedigree of the Arabs, 
their language is derived from the same original stock with 
the Hebrew, the Syriac, and the Chaldaean tongues : the in- 
dependence of the tribes was marked by their peculiar 
dialects ; ^ but each, after their own, allowed a just prefer- 
ence to the pure and perspicuous idiom of Mecca. In 

s ? The modern theory and practice of the Arabs in the revenge of murder are 
described by Niebuhr (Description, pp. 26-31). The harsher features of an- 
tiquity maybe traced in the Koran, c. 2, p. 20, c. 17, p. 230, with Sale's Observa- 
tions. 

«* Procopius (de Bell. Persic. 1. i. c. 16) places the two holy months about the 
cummer solstice. The Arabians consecrate four months of the year — the first, 
seventh, eleventh, and twelfth; and pretend, that in a long series of ages the 
truce was infringed only four or six times (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, pp. 
147-150. and Notes on the ixth chapter of the Koran, p. 154, &c. Casiri, Bibliot. 
llispano-Arabica, torn. ii. pp. 20, 21). 

S ' J Arrian, in the second century, remarks (In Periplo Maris Erythraei, p. 12) 
the partial or total difference of the dialects of the Arabs. Their language and 
letters are copiously treated by Poc-ork (Specimen, pp. 150-154), Casiri (Bibliot. 
Hispano-Arabica, torn. i. pp. 1, 83, 202, torn. i. p. 25, &c), and Niebuhr (Descrip- 
tion de 1' Arable, pp. 72-86). I pass slightly ; I am not fond of repeating words 
like a parrot. 



328 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Arabia, as well as in Greece, the perfection of language out- 
stripped the refinement of manners ; and her speech could 
diversify the fourscore names of honey, the two hundred of 
a serpent, the five hundred of a lion, the thousand of a 
sword, at a time when this copious dictionary was intrusted 
to the memory of an illiterate people. The monuments of 
the Homerites were inscribed with an obsolete and mysteri- 
ous character ; but the Cufic letters, the ground work of the 
present alphabet, were invented on the banks of the Eu- 
phrates ; and the recent invention was taught at Mecca by a 
stranger who settled in that city after the birth of Mahomet. 
The arts of grammar, of metre, and of rhetoric, were un- 
known to the freeborn eloquence of the Arabians ; but their 
penetration was sharp, their fancy luxuriant, their wit 
strong and sententious, 40 and their more elaborate composi- 
tions were addressed with energy and effect to the minds of 
their hearers. The genius and merit of a rising poet was 
celebrated by the applause of his own and the kindred 
tribes. A solemn banquet was prepared, and a chorus of 
women, striking their tymbals, and displaying the pomp of 
their nuptials, sung in the presence of their sons and hus- 
bands the felicity of their native tribe ; that a champion 
had now appeared to vindicate their rights ; that a herald 
had raised his voice to immortalize their renown. The 
distant or hostile tribes resorted to an annual fair, which 
was abolished by the fanaticism of the first Moslems ; a 
national assembly that must have contributed to refine 
and harmonize the Barbarians. Thirty days were employed 
in the exchange, not only of corn and wine, but of elo- 
quence and poetry. The prize was disputed by the gen- 
erous emulation of the bards ; the victorious performance 
was deposited in the archives of princes and emirs; and we 
may read in our own language the seven original poems which 
were inscribed in letters of gold, and suspended in the tem- 
ple of Mecca. 41 The Arabian poets were the historians and 

40 A familiar tale in Voltaire's Zadig (le Chien et le Cheval)is related, to prove 
the natural sagacity of the Arabs (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, pp. 120, 121. 
Gagnier. Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. pp. 37-46): but D'Arvieux, or rather La Koquo 
(Voyage de Palestine, p. 92), denies the boasted superiority of the Bedoweens. 
The one hundred and sixty-nine sentences of Ali (translated* by Ockley, London, 
1718) afford a just and favorable specimen of Arabian wit.* 

41 Locock (Specimen, pp. 158-1G1) and Casiri (Bibliot. Hispano-Arabica, torn. i. 
pp. 48, 8f, &<:., 119, torn. ii. p. 17, &c) speak of the Arabian poets before Mahomet ; 
the seven poems of the Caaba have been published in English by Sir William 
Jones ; but his honorable mission to India has deprived us of his own notes, far 
more interesting than the obscure and obsolete text. 



* Compare the Arabic proverbs translated by Burckhardt. London, 1830.— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 329 

moralists of the age ; and if they sympathized with the prej- 
udices, they inspired and crowned the virtues, of their 
countrymen. The indissoluble union of generosity and 
valor was the darling theme of their song ; and when they 
pointed their keenest satire against a despicable race, they 
affirmed, in the bitterness of reproach, that the men knew 
not how to give, nor the women to deny. 42 The same 
hospitality, which was practised by Abraham, and celebrated 
by Homer, is still renewed in the camps of the Arabs. The 
ferocious Bedoweens, the terror of the desert, embrace, 
without inquiry or hesitation, the stranger who dares to 
confide in their honor and to enter their tent. His treatment 
is kind and respectful : he shares the wealth, or the poverty, 
of his host ; and, after a needful repose, lie is dismissed on 
his way, with thanks, with blessings, and perhaps with gifts. 
The heart and hand are more largely expanded by the wants 
of a brother or a friend ; but the heroic acts that could 
deserve the public applause, must have surpassed the narrow 
measure of discretion and experience. A dispute had arisen, 
who, among the citizens of Mecca, was entitled to the prize 
of generosity; and a successive application was made to the 
three who were deemed most worthy of the trial. Abdallah, 
the son of Abbas, had undertaken a distant journey, and his 
foot was in the stirrup when he heard the voice of a suppliant, 
u O son of the uncle of the apostle of God, I am a traveller, 
and in distress ! " He instantly dismounted to present the 
pilgrim with his camel, her rich caparison, and a purse of 
four thousand pieces of gold, excepting only the sword, 
either for its intrinsic value, or as the gift of an honored 
kinsman. The servant of Kais informed the second sup- 
pliant that his master was asleep ; but he immediately added, 
u Here is a purse of seven thousand pieces of gold (it is all 
we have in the house), and here is an order, that will entitle 
you to a camel and a slave ; " the master, as soon as he 
awoke, praised and enfranchised his faithful steward, and, 
with a gentle reproof, that by respecting his slumbers he 
had stinted his bounty. The third of these heroes, the blind 
Arabah, at the hour of prayer, was supporting his steps on 
the shoulders of two slaves. "Alas!" he replied, "my 
coffers are empty ! but these you may sell ; if you refuse, I 
renounce them." At these words, pushing away the youths, 
he groped along the wall with his staff. The character of 

" Sale's Preliminary Discourse, pp. 29, 30. 



830 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

Hatem is the perfect model of Arabian virtue ; 43 he was 
brave and liberal, an eloquent poet, and a successful robber ; 
forty camels were roasted at his hospitable feasts ; and at the 
prayer of a suppliant enemy he restored both the captives 
and the spoil. The freedom of his countrymen disdained J 
the laws of justice ; they proudly indulged the spontaneous 
impulse of pity and benevolence. 

The religion of the Arabs, 44 as well as of the Indians, 
consisted in the worship of the sun, the moon, and the fixed 
stars ; a primitive and specious mode of superstition. The 
bright luminaries of the sky display the visible image of a 
Deity : their number and distance convey to a philosophic, 
or even a vulgar, eye, the idea of boundless space ■ the char- 
acter of eternity is marked on these solid globes, that seem 
incapable of corruption or decay : the regularity of their 
motions may be ascribed to a principle of reason or instinct; 
and their real, or imaginary, influence encourages the vain 
belief that the earth and its inhabitants are the object of 
their peculiar care. The science of astronomy was cultivated 
at Babylon; but the school of the Arabs was a clear firma- 
ment and a naked plain. In their nocturnal marches, they 
steered by the guidance of the stars : their names, and order, 
and daily station, were familiar to the curiosity and devotion 
of the Bedoween ; and he was taught by experience to 
divide, in twenty-eight parts, the zodiac of the moon, and 
to bless the constellations who refreshed, with salutary rains, 
the thirst of the desert. The reign of the heavenly orbs 
could not be extended beyond the visible sphere; and some 
metaphysical powers were necessary to sustain the trans- 
migration of souls and the resurrection of bodies : a camel 
was left to perish on the grave, that he might serve his 
master in another life; and the invocation of departed 
spirits implies that they were still endowed with conscious- 
ness and power. I am ignorant, and I am careless, of the 

"D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 458. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. iii. p. 
118. Caab and Hesnus (Pocock, Specimen, pp. 43, 40. 48) were likewise conspic- 
uous -for their liberality ; and the latter is elegantly praised by an Arabian 
poet: "Videbis eum cum accesseris exultant-em, ac si dares illi quod ab illo 
petis."* 

«* Whatever can now be known of the idolatry of the ancient Arabians may 
be found in Pocock (Specimen, pp. 89-136, 103, 164). His profound erudition is 
more clearlv and concisely interpreted bv Sale (Preliminary Discourse, pp. 14-24); 
and Assemanni (Bibliot. Orient, torn. iv. pp. 580-590) has added some valuable re- 
marks. 



* See the translation of the amusing Persian romance of Hatim Tai. by Dun- 
can Forbes, Esq., among the works published by the Oriental Translation Fund. 
— M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 331 

blind mythology of the Barbarians ; of the local deities, of 
the stars, the air and the earth, of their sex or titles, their 
attributes or subordination. Each tribe, each family, each 
independent warrior, created and changed the rites and the 
object of his fantastic worship ; but the nation, in every 
age, has ho wed to the religion, as well as to the language, of 
Mecca. The genuine antiquity of the Caaba ascends beyond 
the Christian oera; in describing the coast of the Red Sea, 
the Greek historian Diodorus 45 has remaiked, between the 
Thamudites and the Saboeans, a famous temple, whose 
superior sanctity was revered by all the Arabians ; the linen 
or silken veil, which is annually renewed by the Turkish em- 
peror, was first offered by a pious king of the Homerites, 
who reigned seven hundred years before the time of 
Mahomet. 46 A tent, or a cavern, might suffice for the wor- 
ship of the savages, but an edifice of stone and clay has 
been erected in its place ; and the art and power of the 
monarchs of the East have been confined to the simplicity 
of the original model. 47 A spacious portico encloses the 
quadrangle of the Caaba ; a square chapel, twenty-four cubits 
long, twenty-three broad, and twenty-seven high : a door 
and a window admit the light ; the double roof is supported 
by three pillars of wood; a spout (now of gold) discharges 
the rain-water, and the well Zemzem is protected by a dome 
from accidental pollution. The tribe of Koreish, by fraud 
or force, had acquired the custody of the Caaba, the 

45 '\epbv akioiTarov ISpvrai Tifxw'xevav inrb navrtx>y ' ApafiuiV TrepiTTOTepov (Diodor» 

Sieul. torn. i. 1. iii. p. 211). The character and position are so correctly apposite 
that I am surprised how this curious passage should have been read without no- 
tice or application. Yet this famous temple had been overlooked by Agatbar- 
chi<les(deMari Rubro, p. 58, in Hudson, torn, i.), whom Diodorus copies in the rest 
of the description. Was the Sicilian more knowing than the Egyptian ? Or was 
the Caaba built between the years of Rome 650 and 74G, the dates of their respective 
histories? (I>odwell,in Dis*sert. ad torn. i. Hudson, p. 72. 1 abricius, Bibliot. 
Grsec. torn. ii. p. 770.)* 

48 Pocoek, Specimen, pp. 60, 61. From the death of Mahomet we ascend to 
68, from bin birth to 12f», years before the Christian sera. The veil or curtain, which 
is now of silk and gold, v. as no more than a piece of Egyptian linen (Abulfeda, 
in Yit. Mohammed, c. 0, p. 11). 

47 The original plan of the Caaba (which is servilely copied in Sale, the Uni- 
versal History, &c.) was a Turkish draught, which Reland (de Religione Moham- 
medicn, pp. 113-123) has corrected and explained from the best authorities. For 
the description and legend of the Caaba, consult Pocoek (Specimen, pp. 115-122), 
the Bibliotheque Orientale of D'Herbelot {Caaba, Hagir, Zemzem, &c), and Sale 
(Preliminary Discourse, pp. 114-122). 



* Mr. Forster (Geography of Arabia, vol. ii. p. 118. et seq.) has raised an objec- 
tion, as 1 think, fatal to this hypothesis of Gibbon. The temple, situated in the 
country of the Banizomeneis, was not between the Thamudites and the Sabseans, 
but higher up than the coast inhabited by the former. Mr. Forster would place 
it as far north a^ Moilah. 1 am not quite satisfied that this will agree with the 
whole description of Diodorus.— M. 1845. 



332 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

sacerdota once devolved through four lineal descents to the 
grandfather of Mahomet ; and the family of the Hashemites, 
from whence he sprung, was the most respectable and sacred 
in the eyes of their country. 48 The precincts of Mecca en- 
joyed the rights of sanctuary; and, in the last month of 
each year, the city and the temple were crowded with a 
long train of pilgrims, who presented their vows and offer- 
ings in the house of God. The same rites which are now 
accomplished by the faithful Mussulman, were invented and 
practised by the superstition of the idolaters. At an awful 
distance they cast away their garments : seven times, with 
hasty steps, they encircled the Caaba, and kissed the black 
stone : seven times they visited and adored the adjacent 
mountains: seven times they threw stones into the valley of 
Mina; and the pilgrimage was achieved, as at the present 
hour, by a sacrifice of sheep and camels, and the burial of 
their hair and nails in the consecrated ground. Each tribe 
either found or introduced in the Caaba their domestic 
worship : the temple was adorned, or defiled, with three 
hundred and sixty idols of men, eagles, lions, and antelopes ; 
and most conspicuous was the statue of Hebal, of red agate, 
holding in his hand seven arrows, without heads or feathers, 
the instruments and symbols of profane divination. But 
this statue was a monument of Syrian arts : the devotion of 
the ruder ages was content with a pillar or a tablet ; and 
the rocks of the desert were hewn into gods or altars, in 
imitation of the black stone 49 of Mecca, which is deeply 
tainted with the reproach of an idolatrous origin. From 
Japan to Peru, the use of sacrifice has universally pre- 
vailed ; and the votary has expressed his gratitude, or fear, 
by destroying or consuming, in honor of the gods, the 
dearest and most precious of their gifts. The life of a man 50 
is the most precious oblation to deprecate a public calamity ; 
the altars of Phoenicia and Egypt, of Rome and Carthage, 

48 Cosa, the fifth ancestor of Mahomet, must have usurped theCaaha A D. 44n; 
"but the story is differently told by Jannabi (Gaguier, Vie de Mahomet torn i pp 
G5-G9), and by Abulfeda (in Vit. Moham. c. G, p. 13). 

« In the second century, Maxim us of Tyre attributes to the Arabs the worship 

of a Stone— Api^ioi ae^ovtrt fx«", or-Tiua &e ovk olSa, to <5e ayaAjua eloW Aiflo? r\v 
Tc-Toaywi'o? (Dissert, viii. torn. i. p. 142, edit. Reiske); and the reproach is furiously 
reechoed by the Christians (Clemens Alex, in Protreptico, p. 40. Arnobius con- 
tra Gentes. 1. vi. p. 24G). Vet these stones were no other than the 0aiTvAa of Svria 
and Greece, so renowned in sacred and profane antiquity (Euseb. Prsep. Evangel. 
1. l. p. 37. Marsham, Canon Chron. pp. 54-56). 

C0 The two horrid subjects of AvSnoBvaia and TTai8o0vcTia are accurately dis- 
cussed by the learned Sir John Marsham (Canon. Chron. pp. 70-78. 301-304).' San- 
choniatho derives the Phoenician sacrifices from the example of Chronus ; but 
we are ignorant whether Chronus lived before, or after, Abraham, or indeed 
whether he lived at all. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 333 

have been polluted with human gore : the cruel practice was 
long preserved among the Arabs ; in the third century, a 
boy was annually sacrificed by the tribe of the Dumatians; 51 
and a royal captive was piously slaughtered by the prince 
of the Saracens, the ally and soldier of the emperor Jus- 
tinian. 52 A parent who drags his son to the altar, exhibits 
the most painful and sublime effort of fanaticism : the deed, 
or the intention, was sanctified by the example of saints and 
heroes ; and the father of Mahomet himself was devoted by 
a rash vow, and hardly ransomed for the equivalent of a 
hundred camels. In the time of ignorance, the Arabs, like the 
Jews and Egyptians, abstained from the taste of swine's 
flesh ; 53 they circumcised 54 their children at the age of 
puberty : the same customs, without the censure or the 
precept cf the Koran, have been silently transmitted to 
their posterity and proselytes. It has been sagaciously con- 
jectured, that the artful legislator indulged the stubborn 
prejudices of his countrymen. It is more simple to believe 
that he adhered to the habits and opinions of his youth, 
without foreseeing that a practice congenial to the climate 
of Mecca might become useless or inconvenient on thebanks 
of the Danube or the Volga. 

Arabia was free : the adjacent kingdoms were shaken 
by the storms of conquest and tyranny, and the persecuted 
sects fled to the happy land where they might profess what 
they thought, and practice what they professed. The re- 
ligions of the Sabians and Magians, of the Jews and Chris- 
tians, were disseminated from the Persian Gulf to the Red 
Sea. In a remote period of antiquity, Sabianism was dif- 
fused over Asia by the science of the Chaldaeans ,jb and the 

51 Kot err? Ik-httov ira<&a eBvov, is the reproach of Porphyry ; but he likewise 
invmtes to the Romans the same barbarous custom, which, A . U C 657, had been 
finally abolished. Pumretha. Daumat al Gendal, is noticed by Ptolemy (Tabui. 
p. 37, Arabia, pn. 9-20) and Abulfeda (p 57), and may be found in D'Anville's 
maps, in the mid -desert between Chaibar and Tadmor. 

,2 Procopius (de Bell. Per^ico, 1. i. c. 28), Evagrhie (1. vi. c 21). and Pocock 
(Specimen, pp. 72, 86), attest the human sacrifices of the Arabs in the vith ceil, 
tnrv. The dancer and escape of Abdallah is a tradition rather than a tact (Gag- 
nier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. pp. 82-84). 

53 Suillis carnibus abstinent, says Solinus (Polyhistor c 33). who copies Pliny 
(1. viii. c. 68) in the strange supposition, that hogs cannot live in Arabia The 
Egyptians were actuated by a natural and superstitious horroi for that unclean 
beast (Marsham, Canon, p. 205). The old Arabians likewise practised, post 
coitum, the rite of ablution (Herodot. 1. i. c. 80), which is sanctified by the Ma- 
hometan law (Reland, p 75, &c, Chardin, or rather the Molldh of Shah Abbas, 
torn. iv. p. 71, &c). 

:a The Mahometan doctors are not fond of the subject , yet they hold circum- 
cision necessary to salvation, and even pretend that Mahomet was miraculously 
born without a foreskin (Pocock, Specimen, pp. 319. 320. Sale's Preliminary 
Dis< oursp, pp. 106, 107). 

5i Diodorus Siculus (torn. i. 1. ii. pp. 142-145) has .cast on their religion the 



334 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

arms of the Assyrians. From the observations of two thou- 
sand years, the priests and astronomers of Babylon 56 de- 
duced the eternal laws of nature and providence. They 
adored fSie seven gods, or angels, who directed the course of 
the seven planets, and shed their irresistible influence on the 
earth. The attributes of the seven planets, with the twelve 
signs of the zodiac, and the twenty-four constellations of 
the northern and southern hemisphere, were represented by 
images and talismans ; the seven days of the week were 
dedicated to their respective deities ; the Sabians prayed 
thrice each day ; and the temple of the moon at Haran was 
the term of their pilgrimage. 57 But the flexible genius of 
their faith was always ready either to teach or to learn : in 
the tradition of the creation, the deluge, and the patriarchs, 
they held a singular agreement with their Jewish captives ; 
they appealed to the secret books of Adam, Seth, and 
Enoch ; and a slight infusion of the gospel has transformed 
the last remnant of the Polvtheists into the Christians of 
St. John, in the territory of Bassora. 58 The altars of Baby- 
lon were overturned by the Magians ; but the injuries of 
the Sabians were revenged by the sword of Alexander ; 
Persia groaned above five hundred years under a foreign 
yoke ; and the purest disciples of Zoroaster escaped from the 
contagion of idolatry, and breathed with their adversaries 
the freedom of the desert. 59 Seven hundred years before 
the death of Mahomet, the Jews were settled in Arabia; 

curious but superficial glance of a Greek. Their astronomy would be far more 
■valuable : they had looked through the telescope of reason, since they could 
doubt whether the sv.n were in the number of the planets or of the fixed stars- 

i0 Simplicius (who quotes Porphyry), de Ccel©, 1. ii. com. xlvi. p. 123, liu. 18, 
apud Marsham, Canon. Chron. p. 474, who doubts the fact, because it is adverse 
to his systems. The earliest date of the Chaluaan olser\ations is the year 2L'34 
before Christ. After the conquest of BaUylon by Alexander, they were com- 
municated, at the request of Aristotle, to the astronomer liipparehus. What a 
moment in the annals of science ! 

" Pocock (Specimen, pp. 138-146), Hottinger (Hist. Orient, pp. 162-203), Hyde 
(de Keligione Vet. Persarum, pp. 124, 128, &c), D'Herbelot {Sabi, pp. 725, 726), 
and Sale (Preliminary Discourse, pp. 14, 15), rather excite than gratify our 
curiosity ; and the last of these writers confounds Sabianism with the primitive 
religion of the Arabs. 

« D'Anville (l'Euphrate et le Tigre, pp. 130-137) will fix the position of these 
ambiguous Christians ; Assemanus (Bibliot. Oriental, torn. iv. pp. 607-614) may 
explain their tenets. But it is a slippery task to ascertain ihe creed of an igno- 
rant people, afraid and ashamed to disclose their sucret traditions.* 

59 The Magi were fixed in the province of Bahrein (Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, 
torn. iii. p. 114), and mingled with the old Arabians (Pocock, Specimen, pp. 146- 
150). 



* The Codex Nasirasus, their sacred book, has been published by Norberg, 
whose researches contain almost all that is known of this singular people. But 
their origin is almost as obscure as ever : if ancient, their creed has been so 
corrupteil with mysticism andMahometanism, that its native lineaments are very 
indistinct.— M. • 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 335 

and a far greater multitude was expelled from the Holy 
Land in the wars of Titus and Hadrian. The industrious 
exiles aspired to liberty and power : they erected synagogues 
in the cities, and castles in the wilderness, and their Gentile 
converts were confounded with the children of Israel, whom 
they resembled in the outward mark of circumcision. The 
Christian missionaries were still more active and success- 
ful : the Catholics asserted their universal reign; the sects 
whom they oppressed, successively retired beyond the limits 
of the Roman empire ; the Marcionites -and Manichaeans dis- 
persed their fantastic opinions and apocryphal gospels ; the 
churches of Yemen, and the princes of Flint and Gassan, 
were instructed in a purer creed by the Jacobite and Nes- 
torian bishops. 00 The liberty of choice was presented to the 
tribes; each Arab was free to elect or to compose his private 
religion : and the rude superstition of his house was mingled 
with the sublime theology of saints and philosophers. A 
fundamental article of faith was inculcated by the consent 
of the learned strangers ; the existence of one supreme God, 
who is exalted above the powers of heaven and earth, but 
who has often revealed himself to mankind by the ministry 
of his angels and prophets, and whose grace or justice has 
interrupted, by seasonable miracles, the order of nature. 
The most rational of the Arabs acknowledged his power, 
though they neglected his worship : G1 and it was habit rather 
than conviction that still attached them to the relics of 
idolatry. The Jews and Christians were the people of the 
Book ; the Bible was already translated into the Arabic 
language, 62 and the volume of the Old Testament was ac- 
cepted by the concord of these implacable enemies. In the 
story of the Hebrew patriarchs, the Arabs were pleased to 
discover the fathers of their nation. They applauded the 
birth and promises of Ismael ; revered the faith and virtue 

60 The state of the Jews and Christians in Arabia is described by Pocock from 
Sharestani, &e. (Specimen, pp. 60, 134, &c), HottiiiLrer (Hist. Orient, pp. 212-238), 
D'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orient, pp. 474-476), Basnage (Hist, des Juifs, torn. vii. p. 185, 
torn. viii. p. 280), and Sale (Preliminary Discourse, pp. 22, &c, 33. &c). 

01 In their offerings, it was a maxim to defraud God for the profit of the 
idol, not a more potent, but a more irritable, patron (Pocock, Specimen, pp. 108, 
109). 

« 2 Our versions now extant, whether Jewish or Christian, appear more recent 
than the Koran ; but the existence of a prior translation may be fairly interred, 
—1. From the perpetual practice of the synagogue of expounding the Hebrew 
lesson by a paraphrase in the vulgar tongue of the country ; 2. From the analogy 
of the Armenian, Persian, iEthiopio versions, expressly quoted by tiie fathers of 
the fifth century, who assert that the Sciptures were translated into all the 
Barbaric languages (Walton, Prolegomena ad Biblia Polyglot, pp. 34, 93-97. 
Simon, Hist. Critique du \, et du N. Testament, torn. i. pp. 180, 181, 282-286, 293. 
305, 306, torn, i v. p. 206). ' 



336 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

of Abraham ; traced his pedigree and their own to the 
creation of the first man, and imbibed, with equal credulity, 
the prodigies of the holy text, and the dreams and tradi- 
tions of the Jewish rabbis. 

The base and plebeian origin of Mahomet is an unskilful 
calumny of the Christians, 63 who exalt instead of degrading 
the merit of their adversary. His descent from Ishmael was a 
national privilege or fable ; but if the first steps of the pedi- 
gree C4 are dark and doubtful, he could produce many gener- 
ations of pure and genuine nobility ; he sprung from the 
tribe of Koreish and the family of Hash em, the most illus- 
trious of the Arabs, the princes of Mecca, and the hereditary 
guardians of the Caaba. The grandfather of Mahomet wns 
Abdol Motalleb, the son of Hashem, a wealthy and generous 
citizen, who relieved the distress of famine with the sup- 
plies of commerce. Mecca, which had been fed by the 
liberality of the father, was saved by the courage of the son. 
The kingdom of Yemen was subject to the Christian princes 
of Abyssinia; their vassal Abrahah was provoked by an in- 
sult to avenge the honor of the cross ; and the holy city was 
invested by a train of elephants and an army of Africans. 
A treaty was proposed ; and, in the first audience, the 
grandfather of Mahomet demanded the restitution of his 
cattle. "And why," said Abrahah, "do you not rather 
implore my clemency in favor of your temple, which I have 
threatened to destroy?" " Because," replied the intrepid 
chief, " the cattle is my own ; the Caaba belongs to the gods, 
and they will defend their house from injury and sacrilege." 
The want of previsions, or the valor of the Koreish, com- 
pelled the Abyssinians to a disgraceful retreat : their dis- 
comfiture lias been adorned with a miraculous flight of 
birds, who showered down stones on the heads of the in- 
fidels ; and the deliverance was long commemorated by the 

fi3 In eo conveniunt omnes, ut plebeio vilique genere ortum, &c. (Hottinger, 
Hist. Orient, p. 1.36). Yet, Theophanes, the most ancient of the Greeks, and the 
father of many a lie, confesses that Mahomet was of the race of Ismael, e« fjuas 
ytviK(i>Ta.Ty<; 4>v\r)<; (Chi'onograph. p. 277). 

64 Abulfeda(in Vit. Mohammed, c. 1,2) and Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, pp. 25- 
97) describe the popular and approved genealogy of the prophet. At Mecca, I 
would not dispute its authenticity : at Lausanne, I will venture to observe, 1. 
That from Ismael to Mahomet, a period of 2500 years, they reckon thirty, in- 
stead of seventy-five, generations ; 2. That the modern Bedoweens are ignorant 
of their history, and careless of their pedigree (Yoj age de D'Arvieux, pp. 100, 
103).* 



* The most orthodox Mahometans only reckon back the ancestry of the 
prophet lor twenty generations, to Adnan. Weil, Mohammed der Prophet, p. 1. 
— M. 1845. 



OF THE F.OMAN EMPIEE. 337 

sera of the elephant. 05 The glory of Abdol Motalleb was 
crowned with domestic happiness ; liis life was prolonged to 
the age of one hundred and ten years ; and he became the 
father of six daughters and thirteen sons. His best beloved 
Abdallah was the most beautiful and modest of the Arabian 
youth ; and in the first night, when he consummated his 
marriage with Amina,t of the noble race of the Z ah rites, 
two hundred virgins arc said to have expired of jealousy 
and despair. Mahomet, or more properly Mohammed, the 
only son of Abdallah and Amina, was born at Mecca, four 
years after the death of Justinian, and two months after the 
defeat of the Abyssinians, 60 whose victory would have in- 
troduced into the Caaba the religion of the Christians. In 
his early infancy, he was deprived of his father, his mother, 
and his grandfather; his uncles were strong and numerous; 
and, in the division of the inheritance, the orphan's share 
was reduced to five camels and an ^Ethiopian maid-servant. 
At home and abroad, in peace and war, Abu Taleb, the most 
respectable of his uncles, was the guide and guardian of his 
youth ; in his twenty-filth year, he entered into the service 
of Cadijah, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, who soon re- 

C >~ J The seed of this history, or fable, is contained in the evth chapter of the 
Koran ; and Gagnier (in Prsefat. ad Vit. Moliam. p. 18, &c.) lias translated the 
historical narrative of Abulfeda, which may be illustrated from D'Herbelot 
(Bibliot. Orientale, p. 12) and Pocock (Specimen, p. 64). Prideaux (Life of Maho- 
met, p. 48) calls it a lie of tbe coinage of Mahomet ; but Sale (Koran, pp. 501-503), 
vbo is half a Mussulman, attacks the inconsistent faith of the Doctor for believ- 
ing the miracles of the Delphic Apollo. Maracci (Alcoran, torn. i. part. ii. p. 14, 
torn. ii. ]>. 823) ascribes the miracle to the devil, and extorts from the Mahometans 
the confession, that God would not have defended against the Christians the 
idols of the Caaba.* 

0,i The safest ajras of Abulfeda (in Vit. c. i. p. 2) of Alexander, or the Greeks, 
882, of Bocht Naser, or Nabonassar, 1316, equally lead us to the ye;»r 560. The old 
Arabian calendar is too dark and uncertain to support the Benedictines (Art de 
Verifier les Dates, p. 15), who, from the day of the month and week, deduce a 
new mode of calculation, and remove the birth of Mahomet to the year of 
Christ 570, the 10th of November. Yet this date would agree with the year 882 
of the Greeks, which is assigned by Elmaein (Hist. Saracen, p. 5) and Abulphara- 
gius (Dynast, p. 101, and Errata, Pocock's version). While we refine our 
chronology, it is possible that the illiterate "prophet was ignorant of his own 
age.t 

* Dr. Weil says that the small-pox broke out in the army of Abrahah, but he 
does not give his authority, p. 10. — M. 1815. 

t Amina, or Emina, was of Jewish birth. V Hammer, Geschichte der Assass. 
p. 10.— M. 

% The date of the birth of Mahomet is not yet fixed with prestetcision. It is only 
known from Oriental authors that he was born on a Monday, the 10th Reby 1st, 
the third month of the Mahometan year ; the year ; 40 or 42 of Chosroes Nushirvan, 
king of Persia ; the year 881 of the Seleueidan a^ra ; the year 1316 of the asra or 
Nabonassar. 'J his leaves the point undecided between the years 569, 570, 571, of 
J. C. See the Memoir of M. Silv. de Sacy, on divers events in the history of the 
Arabs before Mahomet, Mem. Acad, des lnscript. vol. xlvii. pp. 527, 531. St. Mar- 
tin, vol. xi. p. 59. — M. 

Dr. Weil decides on A. D. 591. Mahomet died in 632, aged 63 ; but the Arabs 
reckoned his life by lunar years which reduces his life nearly to 61 (p. 21).— M. 
1845. 

Vol. IV.— 22 



338 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

warded his fidelity with the gift of her hand and fortune. 
The marriage contract, in the simple style of antiquity, re- 
cites the mutual love of Mahomet and Cadijah; describes 
him as the most accomplished of the tribe of Koreish ; and 
stipulates a dowry of twelve ounces of gold and twenty 
camels, which was supplied by the liberality of his uncle. 67 
By this alliance, the son of Abdallah was restored to the 
station of his ancestors ; and the judicious matron was con- 
tent with his domestic virtues, till, in the fortieth year of 
his age, 68 he assumed the title of a prophet, and proclaimed 
the religion of the Koran. 

According to the tradition of his companions, Mahomet 69 
was distinguished by the beauty of his person, an outward 
gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it 
has been refused. Before he spoke, the orator engaged 
on his side the affections of a public or private audience. 
They applauded his commanding presence, his majestic 
aspect, his piercing eye, his gracious smile, his flowing beard, 
his countenance that painted every sensation of the soul, 
and his gestures that enforced each expression of the tongue. 
In the familiar offices of life he scrupulously adhered to the 
grave and ceremonious politeness of his country : his respect- 
ful attention to the rich and powerful was dignified by his 
condescension and affability to the poorest citizens of Mecca : 
the frankness of his manner concealed the artifice of his 
views ; and the habits of courtesy were imputed to personal 
friendship or universal benevolence. His memory was 
cap>acious and retentive ; his wit easy and social ; his im- 

67 1 copy the honorable testimony of Abu Taleb to his family and nephew. 
Laus Dei, qui nos a stirpe Abrahami et semine Ismaelis constituit, et nobis re- 
gion em sacrum dedit, et nos judices hoininibus statuit. Porro Mohammed iilius 
Abdollahi nepotis mei (nepos mtus) quo cum ex aequo librabitur e Koraishidis 
quispiain cui non praeponderaturus est, bonitate et excellentia, et intellectu et 
gloria, acumine, etsi opum inops fiierit (et certe opes umbra transiens sunt et 
depositum quod reddi debet), desiderio Chadijae tiliae Chowailedi tenetur, et ilia 
vicissim ipsius, quicquid autem dotis vice petieritis, ego in me suscipiam (Poeock, 
Specimen, e septima parte libri Ebn Hamduni). 

66 The private life of Mahomet, from his birth to his mission, is preserved by 
Abulfeda (in Vit. c. 3—7), and the Arabian writers of genuine or apocryphal note, 
who are alleged by Hottinger (Mist. Orient, pp. 204-211), Maracci (torn. i. pp. 10— 
14), and Gagnier (Vie de Mahomet, torn. i. pp. 1)7-134). 

69 Abulfeda. in Vit. c. lxv. lxvi. Gagnier, Vie de Mahomet, torn. iii. pp. 272-289. 
The best traditions of the person and conversation of the prophet are derived 
from Ayesha, Ali, and Abu Horaira (Gagnier, torn. ii. p. 267. Ockley's Hist, of 
the Saracens, vol. ii. p. 149), sumamed the Father of a Cat, who died in the year 
59 of the Hegira.* 



* Compare, likewise, the new Life of Mahomet (Mohammed der Prophet) by 
Dr. Weil (Stuttgart, 1843). Dr. Weil has a new tradition, that Mahomet was at 
one time a shepherd. This assimilation to the life of Moses, instead of giving 
probability to the story, as Dr. Weil suggests, makes it more suspicious. Note, 
p. 34.— M. 1845. 



OF THE ROMAN empire. 339 

agination sublime; his judgment clear, rapid and decisive. 
He possessed the courage both of thought and action ; and, 
although his designs might gradually expand with his suc- 
cess, the first idea which he entertained of his divine mission 
bears the stamp of an original and superior genius. The 
son of Abclalluh was educated in the bosom of the noblest 
race, in the use of the purest dialect of Arabia; and the 
fluency of his speech was corrected and enhanced by the 
practice of discreet and seasonable silence. With these 
powers of eloquence, Mahomet was an illiterate Barbarian : 
his youth had never been instructed in the arts of reading 
and writing; 70 the common ignorance exempted him from 
shame or reproach, but he was reduced to a narrow circle 
of existence, and deprived of those faithful mirrors, which 
reflect to our mind the minds of sages and heroes. Yet the 
book of nature and of man was open to his view ; and some 
fancy has been indulged in the political and philosophical 
observations which are ascribed to the Arabian traveller. 11 
He compares the nations and the religions of the earth ; dis- 
covers the weakness of the Persian and Roman monarchies; 
beholds, with pity and indignation, the degeneracy of the 
times; and resolves to unite under one God and one king 
the invincible spirit and primitive virtues of the Arabs. 
Our more accurate inquiry will suggest, that, instead of visit- 
ing the courts, the camps, the temples, of the East, the two 

70 Those who believe that Mahomet could read or write are incapable of read- 
ing what is written, with another pen, in the Suras, or chapteis of the Koran, 
vii. xxix. xcvi. These texts, and the tradition of the Sonna, are admitted, with- 
out doubt, by Abulfeda ,thi Vt. c. vii.), Gagnier (Not. ad Abulfed. p. 15), Pocoek 
(Specimen, p. 151), Reland (de Religione Mohammedica, p. 236) and Sale (Prelimi- 
nary Discourse, p. 42). Mr. White, almost alone, denies the ignorance, to accuse 
the imposture, of the prophet. His arguments are far from satisfactory. Two 
short trading journeys to the fairs of Syria were surely not sufficient to infuse a 
science so rare among the citizens of Mecca : it was not in the cool, delibei ate act 
of treaty, that Mahomet would have dropped the mask : nor can any conclusion 
be drawn from the words of disease and delirium. The lettered youth, before he 
aspired to the prophetic character, must have often exercised, in private life, the 
arts of reading and writing ; and his first converts, of his own family, w ould have 
been the lirst to detect and upbraid his scandalous hypocrisy (White's Sermons, 
pp. 20:i. 204, Notes, pp. xxxvi.-xxxviii).* 

71 The count de Boulainvilliers (Vie de Mahomet, pp. 202-228) leads his Arabian 
pupil, like the Telemachus of Fenelon,or the Cyrus of Ramsay. His journey to 
the court of Persia is prtfbably a fiction, nor can I trace the origin of his excla- 
mation, ,; Les Grecs sont pourtant des homines." The two Syrian journeys are 
expressed by almost all the Arabian writers, both Mahometans and Christians 
(Gagnier ad Abulfed. p. 10). 



* Silvester de Sacy (Academ. des Inscript. I. p. 295) lias observed thatth^ text 
of the xcvith Sura implies that Mahomet could read ; the tradition alone denies 
it, and, according to Dr. Weil (p. 4(5), there is another reading of the tradition, that 
" he could not read wel!." Dr. Weil is not quite so successful in explaining away 
Sura xxix. It means, he thinks, that he had not read any books, from which he 
could have borrowed.— M. 1845. 



340 THE DECLrNE AND FALL 

journeys of Mahomet into Syria were confined to the fairs 
of Bostra and Damascus ; that he was only thirteen years 
of age when he accompanied the caravan of his uncle ; and 
that his duty compelled him to return as soon as lie had dis- 
posed of the merchandise of Cadijah. In these hasty and 
superficial excursions, the eye of genius might discern some 
objects invisible to his grosser companions ; some seeds of 
knowledge might be cast upon a fruitful soil; but his igno- 
rance of the Syriac language must have checked his curi- 
osity; and I cannot perceive, in phe life or writings of 
Mahomet, that his prospect was far extended beyond the 
limits of the Arabian world. From every region of that 
solitary world, the pilgrims of Mecca were annually as- 
sembled, by the calls of devotion and commerce : in the free 
concourse of multitudes, a simple citizen, in his native 
tongue, might study the political state and character of the 
tribes, the theory and practice of the Jews and Christians. 
Some useful strangers may be tempted, or forced, to implore 
the rights of hospitality ; and the enemies of Mahomet have 
named the Jew, the Persian, and the Syrian monk, whom 
they accuse of lending their secret aid to the com- 
position of the Koran. 72 Conversation enriches the under- 
standing, but solitude is the school of genius ; and the 
uniformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist. 
From his earliest youth Mahomet was addicted to religious 
contemplation ; each year, during the month of Ramadan, 
he withdrew from the world, and from the arms of Cadijah: 
in the cave of Hera, three miles from Mecca, 73 he consulted 
the spirit of fraud or enthusiasm, whose abode is not in the 
heavens, but in the mind of the prophet. The faith which, 
under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and 
nation, is compounded of an eternal truth, and a necessary 
fiction, That there is only one God, and that Mahomet 

IS THE APOSTLE OF GOD. 

It is the boast of the Jewish apologists, that while the 
learned nations of antiquity were deluded by the fables of 
polytheism, their simple ancestors of Palestine preserved 

W I am not at leisure to pursue the fables or conjectures which name the 
6trangers accused or suspected by the infidels of Mecca (Koran, c. 16, p. 223, c. 35, 
p. 297, with Sale's Remarks. Prideaux's Life of Mahomet, pp. 22-27. Gagnier, 
Not. ad Abulfed. pp. 11, 74. Maracci, torn. ii. p. 400). Even Prideaux has ob- 
served that the transaction must have been secret, and that the scene lay in the 
heart of Arabia. 

7:4 Abulfeda in Vit. c. 7. p. 15. Gagnier, torn. i. pp. 133, 135. The situation of 
Mount Hera is remarked by Abulfeda (Geograph. Arab. p. 4). Yet Mahomet had 
never read of the cave of Egeria, ubi nocturnae Numa constituebat arnica?, of the 
Idamn Mount, where Minos conversed with Jove, &c. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 341 

the knowledge and worship of the true God. The moral 
attributes of Jehovah may not easily be reconciled with the 
standard of human virtue : his metaphysical qualities are 
darkly expressed ; but each page of the Pentateuch and the 
Prophets is an evidence of his power : the unity of his name 
is inscribed on the first table of the law ; and his sanctuary 
was never- defiled by any visible image of the invisible 
essence. After the ruin of the temple, the faith of the 
Hebrew exiles was purified, fixed, and enlightened, by the 
spiritual devotion of the synagogue ; and the authority ot 
Mahomet will not justify his perpetual reproach, that the 
Jews of Mecca or Medina adored Ezra as the son of God. 74 
But the children of Israel had ceased to be a people ; and 
the religions of the world were guilty, at least in the eyes 
of the prophet, of giving sons, or daughters, or companions, 
to the supreme God. In the rude idolatry of the Arabs, the 
crime is manifest and audacious : the Sabians are poorly ex- 
cused by the preeminence of the first planet, or intelligence, 
in their celestial hierarchy; and in the Magian system the 
conflict of the two principles betrays the imperfection of the 
conqueror. The Christians of the seventh century had in- 
sensibly relapsed into a semblance of Paganism : their pub- 
lic and private vows were addressed to the relics and images 
that disgraced the temples of the' East: the throne of the 
Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, 
and angels, the objects of popular veneration ; and the 
Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of 
Arabia, invested the Virgin Mary with the name and honors 
of a goddess. 75 The mysteries of the Trinity and Incar- 
nation appear to contradict the principle of the divine unity. 
In their obvious sense, they introduce three equal deities, 
and transform the man Jesus into the substance of the Son 
of God: 76 an orthodox commentary will satisfy only a be- 

74 Koran, c. 0, p. 153. Al Beidawi, and the other commentators quoted hySale 
adhere to the charge ; hut I do not understand that it is colored by the most ob- 
scure or absurd tradition of the Talmudists. 

75 Hettinger. Hist. Orient, pp. 22-5228. The Collyridian heresy was carried from 
Thrace to Arabia by some women, and the name was borrowed from the KoAAvptc, 
or cake, which they offered to the goddess. This example, that of Bervllus 
bishop of Bostra (Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. c. 33), and several others, may excuse 
the rjproach, Arabia haereseum ferax. 

73 The three gods in the Koran (c. 4, p. 81. c. 5, p 92), are obviouslv directed 
against our Catholic mystery: but the Arabic commentatos understand them 
of the Father, the Son, and toe Virgin Mary, an heretical Trinity, main' ained, as 
it is said, by some Bnrlinri'Mi < nt the Couik il of-Nici (Entych. Annal. toih. i. p. 
4it)). But the existence of the Marianitcs is denied by the candid Beausobie 
(Hist, de Manicheisme, torn. i. p. 532) ; and he derives the mistake fr<>ni the word 
Jtouah, the Holy Ghost, which in some Oriental tongues is of the feminine gender, 
and is figuratively styled the mother of Christ in the Gospei of the Nazarenes. 



342 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

lieving mind : intemperate curiosity and zeal had torn the 
veil of the sanctuary ; and each of the Oriental sects was 
eager to confess th^t all, except themselves, deserved the 
reproach of idolatry and polytheism. The creed of Mahomet 
is free from suspicion or ambiguity ; and the Koran is a 
glorious testimony to the unity of God. The prophet of 
Mecca rejected the worship of idols and men, of stars and 
planets, on the rational principle that whatever rises must 
set, that whatever is born must die, that whatever is cor- 
ruptible must decay and perish. 77 In the Author of the 
universe, his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an 
infinite and eternal being, without form or place, without 
issue or similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, ex- 
isting by the necessity of his own nature, and deriving from 
himself all moral and intellectual perfection. These sublime 
truths, thus announced in the language of the prophet, 78 are 
firmly held by his disciples, and defined with metaphysical 
precision by the interpreters of the Koran. A philosophic 
theist might subscribe the popular creed of the Mahome- 
tans ; 79 a creed too sublime, perhaps, for our present facul- 
ties. What object remains for the fancy, or even the under- 
standing, when we have abstracted from the unknown sub- 
stance all ideas of time and space, of motion and matter, of 
sensation and reflection ? The first principle of reason and 
revelation Avas confirmed by the voice of Mahomet : his 
proselytes, from India to Morocco, are distinguished by the 
name of Unitarians / and the danger of idolatry has been 
prevented by the interdiction of images. The doctrine of 
eternal decrees and absolute predestination is strictly em- 
braced by the Mahometans ; and they struggle, with the 
common difficulties, how to reconcile the prescience of God 
with the freedom and responsibility of man ; how to explain 
the permission of evil under the reign of infinite power and 
infinite goodness. 

The God of nature has written his existence on all his 
works, and his law in the heart of man. To restore the 
knowledge of the one, and the practice of the other, has 

77 This train of thought is philosophically exemplified in the character of 
Abraham, who opposed in Chaldaea the first introduction of idolatry (Koran c. 6, 
p. 106. D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 13). 

78 See the Koran, particularly the second (p. 30), the fifty-seventh (pp. 437), the 
fifty-eighth (p. 4H> chapters which proclaim the omnipotence of the Creator. 

70 The most orthodox creeds are translated by Pocock (Specimen, pp. 274, 284— 
202), Ockley (Hist, of the Saracens, vol. ii. pp. lxxxii-xev.), Reland (de Religion. 
Moham. 1. i. pp. 7— t ■''.). and Chardin (Voyages en Perse, torn. iv. pp. 4—28). Tbe 

Seat truth, that God is without similitude, is foolishly criticized by Maraccl 
lcoran, torn. i. part iii. pp. 87—94), because he made man after his own image. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 343 

been the real or pretended aim of the prophets of every 
age : the liberality of Mahomet allowed to his predecessors 
the same credit which he claimed for himself ; and the chain 
of inspiration was prolonged from the fall of Adam to the 
promulgation of the Koran. 80 During that period some 
rays of prophetic light had been imparted to one hundred 
and twenty-four thousand of the elect, discriminated by 
their respective measure of virtue and grace; three hun- 
dred and thirteen apostles were sent with a special com- 
mission to recall their country from idolatry and vice; one 
hundred and four volumes have been dictated by the Holy 
Spirit ; and six legislators of transcendant brightness have 
announced to mankind the six successive revelations of vari- 
ous rites, but of one immutable religion. The authority 
and station of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, and 
Mahomet, rise in just gradation above each other ; but who- 
soever hates or rejects any one of the prophets is numbered 
with the infidels. The writings of the patriarchs were ex- 
tant only in the apocryphal copies of the Greeks and 
Syrians: 81 the conduct of Adam had not entitled him to 
the gratitude or respect of his children ; the seven precepts 
of Noah were observed by an inferior and imperfect class 
of the proselytes of the synagogue ; 8 - and the memory of 
Abraham was obscurely revered by the Sabians in his native 
land of Chaldaea : of the myriads of prophets, Moses and 
Christ alone lived and reigned ; and the remnant of the in- 
spired writings was comprised in the books of the Old and 
the New Testament. The miraculous story of Moses is con- 
secrated and embellished in the Koran ; bS and the captive 
Jews enjoy the secret revenge of imposing their own belief 
on the nations whose recent creeds they deride. For the 
author of Christianity, the Mahometans are taught by the 
prophet to entertain a high and mysterious reverence. 

80 Reland, de Relic;. Moham. 1. i. pp. 17—47. Sale's Preliminary Discourse, pp. 
73-76. Voyage de Chardin, torn. iv. pp. 28-37, and 37-47, for the Persian addition, 
M Ali is the vicar of God !" Yet the precise number of the prophets is not an 
article of faith. 

81 For the apocrvphal books of Adam, see Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus 
V. T. pp. 27-29 , of Seth, p;». 154-157; of Enoch, pp. 160-219. But the book of 
Enoch is consecrated, in some measure, bv the quotation of the apostle St. Jude ; 
and a long legendary fragment is alleged by Syncellus and Sealiger.* 

8V The seven precepts of Noah are explained by Marsham (Canon. Chronicus, 
pp. 1 >4-180). who a<lonts. on this occasion, the learning and credulity of Seiden. 

83 The articles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, &c., in the Bibliotheque of 
D'Herbelot, are gayly bedecked with the fanciful legends of the Mahometans 
who have built on the groundwork of Scripture and the Talmud. 

«* Koran, c. 7, p. 128, &c., c. 10, p. 173, &c. D'Herbelot, p 047, &c. 



84 



♦The whole book has since been recovered in the Ethiopic language, and has 
been edited and translated by Archbishop Lawrence, Oxford, 1821-.— M. 



344 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

14 Verily, Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, is the apostle of 
God, and his word, which he conveyed unto Mary, and a 
Spirit proceeding from him ; honorable in this world and in 
the world to come ; and one of those who approach near to 
the presence of God." 85 The wonders of the genuine and 
apocryphal gospels 66 are profusely heaped on his head; 
and the Latin church has not disdained to borrow from the 
Koran the immaculate conception 87 of his virgin mother. 
Yet Jesus was a mere mortal ; and, at the day of judgment, 
Ins testimony will serve to condemn both the Jews, Avho re- 
ject him as a prophet, and the Christians, who adore him as 
the Son of God. The malice of his enemies aspersed his 
reputation, and conspired against his life ; but their inten- 
tion only was guilty ; a phantom or a criminal was sub- 
stituted on the cross ; and the innocent saint was translated 
to the seventh heaven. 83 During six hundred years the 
gospel was the way of truth and salvation ; but the Chris- 
tians insensibly forgot both the laws and example of their 
founder ; and Mahomet was instructed by the Gnostics to 
accuse the church, as well as the synagogue, of corrupting 
the integrity of the sacred text. 89 The piety of Moses and 
Christ rejoiced in the assurance of a future prophet, more 
illustrious than themselves: the evangelic promise of the 
Paraclete, or Holy Ghost, was prefigured in the name, and 
accomplished in the person, of Mahomet, 90 the greatest and 
the last of the apostles of God. 

85 Koran, c. 3, p. 40, c. 4, p. 80 D'Herbelot, p. 390, &C. 

88 See the Gospel of St. Thomas, or of the Infancy, in the Codex Apocryphus 
N. T. of Fabrieins, who collects the various testimonies concerning it (pp. 128—158). 
It was published in Greek by Cotelier, and in Arabic by Sike, who thinks our 
present copy more recent than JNIahomet. Yet his quotations agree with the 
original about the speech of Christ in his cradle, his living birds of clay, &c. 
(Sike, c. i. p. 168, 169. c. 36, pp. 198. 199, c. 46, p. 206. Cotelier, c. 2, pp. 160, 161). 

87 It is darkly hinted in the Koran (c. 3, p. 39), and more clearly explained by 
the tradition of the Sonnites (Sale's Note, and Maraeci, toin. ii. p. 112). In the 
xiith century, the immaculate conception was condemned by St- Bernard as a 
presumptuous novelty (Fra Faolo, Istoria del Concilio di Treuto, 1. ii). 

83 See the Koran, c. 3, v. 53, and c. 4, v. 156, of Maraeei's edition. Deus est 
prrestantissimus dolose agentium (an odd praise) * * * nee erucihxerunt eum, sed 
objecta est eis similitudo ; an expression that may suit with the system of the 
Docetes ; but the commentators believe (Maracei, torn. ii. pp. 113-115, 173. Sale, 
pp. 42. 43. 79) that another man. a friend or an enemy, was crucified in the like- 
ness of Jesus ; a fable which they bad read in the Gospel of St. Barnabas, and 
which had been started as earlv as the time of Irenams, by some Fbionite here- 
tics (Beausobre, Hist, du Manicheisme, torn. ii. p. 25. Mosheim, de Reb. Christ. 
p. JWD. 

8! ' This charcre is obscurely uried in the Koran (p. 3, p. 45) : but neither Ma- 
homet, nor his followers, are sufficiently versed in languages and criticism to give 
any weight or color to their suspicions. Yet the Arians and Nestorians could 
relate some stories, and the illiterate nrophet mi^ht listen to the bold assertions 
of the Manicha?ans. See Beausobre. torn. i. pp. ?*)'-305 

W) Among the prophecies of the Obi and New Testament, which are perverted 
by the fraud or ignorance of the Mussulmans, thev apply to the prophet the 
promise of the Paraclete, or Comforter, which had bceu already usurped by the 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 345 

The communication of ideas requires a similitude of 
thought and language : the discourse of a philosopher 
would vibrate without effect on the ear of a peasant; yet 
how minute is the distance of their understandings if it be 
compared with the contact of an infinite and a finite mind, 
with the word of God expressed by the tongue or the pen 
of a mortal ! The inspiration of the Hebrew prophets, of 
the apostles and evangelists of Christ, might not be incom- 
patible with the exercise of their reason and memory; and 
the diversity of their genius is strongly marked in the style 
and composition of the books of the Old and New Testament. 
But Mahomet was content with a character, more humble, 
yet more sublime, of a simple editor ; the substance of the 
Koran, 91 according to himself or his disciples, is uncreated 
and eternal ; subsisting in the essence of the Deity, and in- 
scribed with a pen of light on the table of his everlasting 
decrees. A paper copy, in a volume of silk and gems, was 
brought down to the lowest heaven by the angel Gabriel, 
who, under the Jewish economy, had indeed been despatched 
on the most important errands ; and this trusty messenger 
successively revealed the chapters and verses to the Ara- 
bian prophet. Instead of a perpetual and perfect measure of 
the divine will, the fragments of the Koran were produced 
at the discretion of Mahomet ; each revelation is suited to 
the emergencies of his policy or passion ; and all con- 
tradiction is removed by the saving maxim that any text 
of Scripture is abrogated or modified by any subsequent 
passage. The word of God, and of the apostle, was dili- 
gently recorded by Ins disciples on palm-leaves and the 
shoulder-bones ot mutton ; and the pages, without order or 
connection, were cast into a domestic chest, in the custody 
ot one of his wives. Two years after the death of Ma- 
homet, the sacred volume was collected and published by 
his friend and successor Abubeker : the work was revised 
by the caliph Othman, in the thirtieth year of the Ilegira ; 
and the various editions of the Koran assert the same mir- 
aculous privilege of a uniform and incorruptible text. In 
the spirit of enthusiasm or vanity, the prophet rests the 
truth of his mission on the merit of Ins book ; audaciously 
challenges both men and angels to imitate the beauties of a 

Montamsts and Manichpe.-uis (Beausobre, Hist. Critique du Manicheisme, torn, is 
p. SiG3, &c); and the easy ('lian'/e of 1-tters trepiKAvTos for TTapd«\r)Tr><;, aflord. 
the etvmologv of the name ot Mohammed (Maraoei, torn. i. part i. pp. 15-2£). 

01 For the Koran, see D'Heibeua. pp. 88-88. Mavacci, torn. i. in Vit. Moham- 
med, pp. 32—15. Sale, Preliminary I>itJcOuise, pp. 56-70. 



346 THE DECLINE AND FALL 

single page ; and presumes to assert that God alone could 
dictate this incomparable performance. 9 ' 2 This argument 
is most powerfully addressed to a devout Arabian, whose 
mind is attuned to faith and rapture ; whose ear is delighted 
by the music of sounds ; and whose ignorance is incapable 
of comparing the productions of human genius. 93 The 
harmony and copiousness of style will not reach, in a 
version, the European infidel : he will peruse with impa- 
tience the endless incoherent rhapsody of fable, and precept, 
and declamation, which seldom excites a sentiment or an 
idea, which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes 
lost in the clouds. The divine attributes exalt the fancy of 
the Arabian missionary ; but his loftiest strains must yield 
to the sublime simplicity of the book of Job, composed in a 
remote age, in the same country, and in the same language. 94 
If the composition of the Koran exceed the faculties of a 
man, to what superior intelligence should we ascribe the 
Iliad of Homer, or the Philippics of Demosthenes? In all 
religions, the life of the founder supplies the silence of his 
written revelation : the sayings of Mahomet were so many 
lessons of truth ; his actions so many examples of virtue ; 
and the public and private memorials were preserved by his 
wives and companions. At the end of two hundred years, 
the Son?ia, or oral law, was fixed and consecrated by the 
labors of Al Bochari who discriminated seven thousand two 
hundred and seventy-five genuine traditions, from a mass of 
three hundred thousand reports, of a more doubtful or 
spurious character. Each day the pious author prayed in 
the temple of Mecca, and performed his ablutions with the 

82 Koran, c. 17, v. 89. In Sale, pp. 235, 236. In Maracci, p. 410.* 
93 Yet a sect of Arabians was persuaded, that it might be equalled or sur- 
passed by a human pen (Pocock, Specimen, p. 221, &(••) ; and Maracci (the po- 
lemic is too hard for the translator) derides the rhyming affectation of the most 
applauded passage (torn. i. part li. pp. 6D-- 75). 

9 * Colloquia (whether real or fabulous) in media Arabia atque ab Arabibus 
habita(Lowth,de Poesi Hebneorum Pradect. xxxii. xxxiii. xxxiv. with his German 
editor. Michaelis, Epimetron iv). Yet Michaelis (pp. 671-673) has detected many 
Egyptian images, the elephantiasis, papyrus, Nile, crocodile, &c. The language 
is ambiguously styled Arabico-Hehnva. The resemblance of the sister dialects 
was much more visible in their childhood, than in their mature age (Michaelis, 
p. 6>-2. Schultens, in Prajfat. Job).t 



* Compare Von Hammer, Geschichte der Assassinen, p. IK— M. 

t The ;ige of the book of Job is still and probably will still be disputed. 
Rosenmuller thus states his own opinion : " Cerle serioribus reipid)lic;e tempori- 
bus assignandum esse librum, suadere videtur, ad Chaldatsmum vergens senno.'' 
Yet the observations of Kbsegarten. which Rosenmuller has given in a note, and 
common reason, suggest that this Chaldaism may be the native form of a much 
earlier dialect : or the Chaldaic may have adopted the poetical archaisms of a 
dialect, differing from, but not less ancient than, the Hebrew. See Rosenmuller, 
Proleg. on Job, p. 41. The poetry appears to me to belong to a much earlier 
period. — M. 



OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 347 

water of Zemzem : the pages were successively deposited 
on the pulpit and the sepulchre of the apostle ; and the 
work has been approved by the four orthodox sects of the 
Sonnites. 95 

The mission of the ancient prophets, of Moses and of 
Jesus, had been confirmed by many splendid prodigies; and 
Mahomet was repeatedly urged, by the inhabitants of Mecca 
and Medina, to produce a similar evidence of his divine 
legation ; to call down from heaven the angel or the volume 
of his revelation, to create a garden in the desert, or to 
kindle a conflagration in the unbelieving city. As often as 
he is pressed by the demands of the Koreish, he involves 
himself in the obscure boast of vision and prophecy, appeals 
to the internal proofs of his doctrine, and shields himself be- 
hind the providence of God, who refuses those signs and 
wonders that would depreciate the merit of faith, and ag- 
gravate the guilt of infidelity. But the modest or angry 
tone of his apologies betrays his weakness and vexation ; 
and these passages of scandal established, beyond suspicion, 
the integrity of the Koran. 96 The votaries of Mahomet are 
more assured than himself of his miraculous gifts ; and their 
confidence and credulity increase as they are farther re- 
moved from the time and place of his spiritual exploits. 
They believe or affirm that trees went forth to meet him ; 
that he was saluted by stones ; that water gushed from his 
fingers ; that he fed the hungry, cured the sick, and raised 
the dead ; that a beam groaned to him ; that a camel com- 
plained to him ; that a shoulder of mutton informed him of 
its being poisoned ; and that both animate and inanimate 
nature were equally subject to the apostle of God. 97 His 
dream of a nocturn